Aunt of toddler burned alive in car: I hope her dad ‘f–king dies’
A monstrous dad allegedly left his 3-year-old daughter to burn alive near a Queens park — strapped to her baby seat inside a chained-shut, gasoline-covered car that was set ablaze Sunday, police sources said.
The full horror of Zoey Pereira’s final moments emerged Monday as cops ruled her death a homicide — and sources say 39-year-old Martin Pereira is “absolutely” the prime suspect in the tot’s death.
“He killed a baby. He burned her alive. He did that to her. That’s not even human, that’s an animal. That’s a coward,” Zoey’s aunt told The Post.
The dad was locked in a bitter custody dispute with the girl’s mom — and had been threatening to hurt their angelic toddler right before he allegedly left her burning inside the car that had been rigged up as a fiery prison, sources said.
Zoey never had a chance. The little girl was strapped into a infant seat in the back of an Audi A6, and its rear doors were chained shut from the inside — one to the other so neither could be opened — in an apparent bid to frustrate attempts to rescue her, sources said.
The vehicle had been doused in gasoline, and a propane tank in the trunk was set up to feed into the back seat via a tube, sources said. A second tank was found outside the car, sources added.
A good Samaritan saw a flaming Martin flee the car when he pulled over at 155th Street and Baisley Boulevard, and used a blanket to help put out his burning clothes.
Martin told him his baby was in the car — but while the Samaritan called 911, the father fled, according to police sources.
The dad doused himself in nearby Baisley Pond Park — then tried to hide from cops as rescue workers fought to wrest his daughter from the wreckage.
“The dad was down by the water,” the source said. “The only reason they found him was that a piece of his clothing was on fire.”
The flaming scrap drew investigators’ eyes over toward the water, where they found Martin “stripped down to his underwear,” the source added.
Police handcuffed him and connected him to an oxygen tank while FDNY members struggled to perform CPR on Zoey, the source said.
First responders were able to extricate the girl — but only after the door handles that the chains were affixed to had melted, sources said.
Zoey was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center but could not be saved.
Martin Pereira, 39, suffered second- and third-degree burns, and was being treated at Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. He was in police custody at the hospital, but had not been charged as of Monday evening.
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