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Who Is Martin Pereira? New Details On The Man Who Locked His Daughter In Car And Set It On Fire

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Who Is Martin Pereira? New Details On The Man Who Locked His Daughter In Car And Set It On Fire

When men and women decide to become parents they are making a solemn vow, whether they say it out loud or not. They are promising, by bringing new life into the world, they will love, honor and protect their child and do everything possible to help them live happy healthy lives. Tragically, it doesn't always work out that way.  Little Zoey Pereira was just a toddler starting out in the world. She should have had her whole life ahead of her. But the friction between her mother and father became so volatile that she didn't make it out alive. Here's what we know about her murder, and what police are doing to make sure her killer stays behind bars. Who Is Martin Pereira? 

1. The Crime

Zoey Pereira was just three-years-old when her life was taken from her in one of the most violent ways imaginable by one of the people who was supposed to love her and protect her above all others: her father, Martin Pereira. In what has been ruled a homicide, the toddler was left strapped inside of a burning car until she was dead. Police, responding to calls about a car on fire in the middle of the road in Queens, New York arrived to find the toddler locked inside of the burning car. The officers initially couldn't even get to her as the doors to the car were chained shut. Eventually, the doors of the car melted and the police were able to get in and get to Zoey. Just as they were doing so, Martin, who was on fire, fled. 

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2. Rumored Threats

Though Martin attempted to flee, the police quickly apprehended him. Currently, Martin is being treated for extensive second and third degree burns all over his body. He is currently in police custody but charges have yet to be officially laid at his feet. Zoey's death has already been designated a murder, but no one is officially under arrest just yet. While her father has yet to be formally charged pending his own treatment for his significant burns (treatment his daughter will never receive because of his own cavalier cruelty and cowardice) that is certainly coming. Martin is rumored to have made plenty of threats of violence against his daughter and her mother in the past. 

3. The Investigation

The investigation into this case is ongoing. The details are only just now being collected and organized in such a fashion that the authorities are starting to get a more complete picture of what exactly transpired. One thing they all seem to agree on that Zoey's father is responsible for her death. What remains unclear is whether or not Martin also intended to end his own life. When police arrived at the scene he was still inside of the car. Yes, he fled when they arrived, but he was also very much on fire. In fact, the police were only able to apprehend Martin when he stripped off his clothes to jump into a nearby pond for relief from the flames. 

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4. Custody Battle

It turns out that Zoey's murder may have been the byproduct of a bitter custody dispute. Zoey's mom, Cherone Coleman, went on the record saying that she did not want Martin anywhere near Zoey on the weekend that she was killed. She even want as far as to try and get a judge to overturn the arrangement that meant Zoey had to spend time with him. “I should’ve just kept her and gone to jail,” Coleman said. Prior to Zoey's death, Martin took her to a medical center to have her evaluated for abuse that he believed her mother was responsible for. Nothing was proven. According to the New York Post, both Martin and Cherone reported each other for abuse, but only Cherone was actually being investigated. 

5. Chilling Phone Call 

Though both parents seemed to be intent on sabotaging their custody arrangement, there is no record available to explain why Martin himself was not being investigated. There is, however, evidence to support that Martin knew exactly what he was doing when he set out to end his baby daughter's life. “Just before he burned my daughter he called saying crazy things,” Cherone said in the news. “I couldn’t even understand some of them, but he said, ‘Do I have your attention now, b**ch? I got your attention now, b**ch. You’re never going to see your daughter again.’”

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr