39-year-old Martin Pereira allegedly strapped his 3-year-old daughter into a baby seat of a car before setting the vehicle on fire.
The father from Valley Stream, Long Island has been arrested on murder charges. He was charged with arson and reckless endangerment for the fire that left Zoey Pereira burned to death.
He allegedly strapped his daughter into her seat, chained the vehicle shut with Zoey inside, doused the car with gasoline and set it on fire.
The child’s death was ruled as homicide and Pereira was the prime suspect.
Zoey’s mother, 36-year-old Cherone Coleman, and Martin Pereira were in the middle of a custody battle when the incident happened.
According to the police, that was only the second time Pereira was allowed to take care of their daughter.
Coleman said she always believed the father of her child could harm her. “I always thought he was going to hurt me. I never thought he was going to hurt my daughter.”
A few moments before the incident, Pereira reportedly told her: “You’ll never see your daughter again.”
Describing the call she got that morning, Coleman added: “Just before he burned my daughter he called saying crazy things.
“I couldn’t even understand some of them, but he said: ‘Do I have your attention now, bitch? I got your attention now, bitch. You’re never going to see your daughter again.’”
Hours after her daughter’s death, Coleman said: “My daughter was perfect. She was loving, always smiling, and oh so caring. She was my only child, and I can’t have any more.”
An officer told the New York Post: “The only reason [officers] found him was that a piece of his clothing was on fire. He was stripped down to his underwear.”
What’s your take on this? Let us know in the comments section and SHARE this with your friends and family!