Martin Pereira, 39, did the unthinkable to his 3-year-old daughter, Zoey. Pereira was in a heated custody battle with his ex Cherone Coleman, 36. Coleman protested to the courts but Pereria was given visitation rights for a weekend. It was only the second time that Zoey had been in her father’s care since the couple’s split.
“They let him leave with her because he had all the paperwork stating he had visitation,” Coleman said. She wished she had disobeyed the judge’s order. “I should’ve just kept her and gone to jail,” she said.”
Coleman was in a state of panic the whole weekend without Zoey and with good reason. Sunday night when Pereira was supposed to return Zoey he was a no show and she immediately called the police reporting her missing.
But she would never see Zoey alive again.
“Just before he burned my daughter he called saying crazy things,” Coleman said. “I couldn’t even understand some of them, but he said, `Do I have your attention now, bitch? I got your attention now, bitch. You’re never going to see your daughter again.’
Pereira chained both rear car doors closed and using two cans of gasoline and propane started the car on fire with Zoey strapped inside to her car seat.
A Good Samaritan came upon Pereira, who was also on fire, and helped put him out. Perhaps in a moment of clarity, Pereira realized what he had done and told the helpful citizen his daughter was in the car. 9-1-1 was called, but the fire got so hot that the chains melded with the car making it near impossible to get to Zoey. By the time Firefighters got to her, she had passed.
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Coleman expressed her anger about the situation.
“I wish I could torture him and kill him,” she admitted. “I can’t imagine the pain my baby went through. She was burned terribly, her bones were out and he ran off and left her to burn to death. Why would he do this to my daughter to get to me? It doesn’t make sense.”
The child’s aunt told the Post that she also hopes Pereira dies.
“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,” she said. “He did that to her. That’s not even human, that’s an animal,” one of the child’s aunts told the outlet.
“I hope he f***ing dies. I’m just being honest. I hope he dies,” another aunt added.”