Three-year-old girl dies in car with doors chained shut, father in custody

Posted at 1:13 PM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 15:16:09-04

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Police say a car fire that killed a 3-year-old girl was set intentionally and they’ve taken the girl’s father in custody in connection to her death.

Firefighters found 3-year-old Zoey Pereira in the backseat of the car with a propane tank and two fuel canisters inside the vehicle. Investigators said the car’s doors were chained shut.

First responders rushed Pereira to the hospital, but she died from her injuries there.

The suspect’s name has not been released, but authorities say he is a 39-year-old Long Island man. He suffered serious injuries and was found in a pond in a nearby park after suffering burns himself.

“The male had fled the vehicle while it was on fire. A search for the male was conducted and he was found a short distance away,” said NYPD Deputy Chief Joseph Gallucci.

Police said they are investigating the case as a homicide. They’ve taken the man into custody, but he has not been charged with a crime yet.

WPIX reports someone had called 911 for a wellness check for the little girl right before the burning car was found.