Zoey Pereira's father charged with murder - Queens Chronicle: Eastern/Southeast Queens News

Zoey Pereira's father charged with murder

by Michael Gannon / Editor | Posted: Monday, May 20, 2019 4:56 pm

The man who allegedly strapped his 3-year-old daughter into a car before chaining the doors shut and setting the car on fire has been charged with murder.

Martin Pereira, 39, of Valley Stream, LI, also has been charged with arson and reckless endangerment in the death of Zoey Pereira of South Jamaica according to a press release issued by NYPD last Friday.

Zoey was found in a burning 2008 Audi just before 9 p.m. on May 5 at the intersection of 154th Street and Baisley Boulevard.

Pereira and Zoey’s mother, Cherone Coleman of South Jamaica, had been involved in a custody dispute over their daughter. Published reports say Coleman recently sought to modify the custody agreement, but was denied by a judge.

Pereira is accused of strapping Zoey into her car seat, dousing the interior of the car with gasoline and chaining the doors shut from the inside to hamper rescue efforts. Authorities also allege that a propane tank in the trunk of the car was intended to feed into the passenger compartment through a tube. Zoey would die at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Witnesses reported seeing a man running from the car with his clothing on fire. Police located Pereira a short time later and short distance away, across the street at Baisley Pond Park suffering from second- and third-degree burns.

He is believed to have jumped into the pond to douse the flames and reportedly remains at Cornell Weill Medical Center in Manhattan.