A murder-suicide is suspected in the death of 3-year-old Zoey Pereira, who was found in a burning Audi sedan with chained doors, and gas cans.
According to WABC 7 sources, police believe the leading theory is that this was a murder-suicide by Zoey's father, identified as Martin Pereira, of Valley Stream.
The horrifying incident took place around 9 p.m. Sunday, May 5, when New York City Police officers responded to a 911 call for a burning vehicle at 154th Street and Baisley Boulevard, said the New York City Police Detective Annette Shelton.
Upon arrival, officers and FDNY personnel discovered a 2008 Audi sedan on fire, Shelton said.
Once the fire was extinguished, Zoey was removed from the vehicle and rushed to Jamaica Hospital by NYPD officers, where she died from her injuries, said Shelton.
Pereira, 39, who sustained burns throughout his body, was located a short distance away and taken into custody before being transported to Jamaica Hospital in serious but stable condition, she added.
Zoey lived with her mother in Queens, and this was only the second unsupervised visit with her father since the couple split several months ago and have since been in a custody battle.
Hours before Zoey's death, Pereira posted a photo of her the two of them on his Facebook page with hearts.
He reportedly called the child's mother throughout the day and at one point threatened that she would never see the child again.
NYPD officials said on Tuesday, May 7, they have not officially released the name of the man apprehended near a pond close to the fire.
The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing, the NYPD said.
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