NEW YORK CITY (WFLA/CNN) – A 3-year-old girl died after being found in a burning car in Queens that had its doors chained shut from the inside and police say it appears to have been intentionally done by the child’s father.
Fire officials found Zoey Pereira in the back seat of a burning vehicle in Queens Sunday night along with two fuel canisters and a propane tank inside the car, the toddler was rescued but later died from her injuries.
Pereira’s father, a 39-year-old man, was apprehended nearby. He had burn-related injuries, sources say.
“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,” NYPD Deputy Chief Joseph Gallucci said.
The man was taken into police custody but has not yet been charged in his daughter’s death, which police are investigating as a homicide.
CNN sources say he and the girl’s mother were in the middle of a bitter custody battle and someone had issued a 911 call for a wellness check for the little girl right before the burning car was discovered.