We absolutely HATE when this type of news happens. No one wants to be right when they've suspected a parent, or ANY adult, of hurting a child. Sadly, this was the case in the burning death of 3-year-old Zoey Pereira.
Little Zoey passed away after being removed from a burning car on Sunday night. The story was suspicious from the jump with reports that the rear doors were chained shut from the inside and gas cans in the backseat where Zoey was found.
Now, more haunting details have emerged.
Zoey's mother told the New York Daily News that the child's father, Martin Pereira had told her:
“You’ll never see your daughter again.”
“I always thought he was going to hurt me," said Cherone Coleman, 36, who spoke to the Daily News surrounded by family as she seesawed between grief and anger.
"I never thought he was going to hurt my daughter,” Coleman said.
“My daughter was perfect. She was loving, always smiling, and oh so caring,” said the grieving mom. “She was my only child, and I can’t have any more.”
Coleman told The News that the girl’s vindictive dad, Martin Pereira, had become unhinged in recent weeks as they battled over Zoey’s custody. Coleman said she had gone to court to modify their visitation agreement, but a judge denied her request.
Against her wishes, but with the court’s blessing, she said, Pereira left with the girl for a weekend visit on Saturday and Sunday. It was only the second time he had been entrusted with Zoey since she and Pereira broke up, Coleman said."
Now Coleman is saying that she wishes she had ignored the judge's orders.
“I should’ve just kept her and gone to jail,” she said.
Coleman said the nightmare began Saturday, when Pereira took Zoey to Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park and claimed to its staff that Coleman had abused the child. ”He was calling me a drug dealer and a drug addict," Coleman said.
Coleman denied being an abuser — but nonetheless, she said, the hospital staff let Pereira continue spending the weekend with their daughter. “They let him leave with her because he had all the paperwork stating he had visitation,” Coleman said.
Coleman also says that for the rest of the weekend Pereira repeatedly called her phone but she ignored his calls. After finally reaching her through the help of a family member Coleman recalls Pereira speaking erratically.
“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.’
Coleman called 9-1-1 immediately and that's when the night of terrors began. Moments later 9-1-1 operators got a call from a witness to the fire stating that a man on fire had run from the car. That witness had stopped and wrapped Pereira in a blanket when Pereira told them his child was in the car.
The fire was so hot, the car door handles securing the chains melted, enabling rescuers to get inside. They rushed Zoey to Jamaica Hospital in a police vehicle, but she could not be saved.
First responders found two gasoline canisters in the car, and a propane tank in the trunk, sources said.
“He’s the fu---ing devil,” Coleman said. “He’s the devil. His family is responsible too. They have called ACS on me so many times with so many lies.”
This has got to be one of the worst crimes against a child that we've ever reported. Our prayers are with Ms. Coleman and her family.