A three-year-old girl died after being trapped in a burning car in Queens on Sunday night. Zoey Pereira was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital, and police confirm that the girl's father is in custody.
Police responded to a 911 call about a car fire at 154th Street and Baisley Boulevard in Springfield Gardens just before 9 p.m., where officers and the FDNY found a 2008 Audi sedan ablaze.
PIX 11 reports that witnesses "told responders they saw a girl 'burning'" in the car—Zoey was in the backseat—and that FDNY sources say the car's doors were chained: "The latch of the chains bolted on the doors gave way due to the heat, and firefighters were able to get the child out, FDNY sources said." NBC New York reports, "It wasn't clear if all doors had been chained from the inside, or if they had been, how that was done."
The girl was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to her injuries, police said.
Police say a 3 year old girl died in the hospital last night after being pulled from this car which was up in flames in Queens. Witnesses say her 39 yr old father was also on fire and rushed into a nearby pond. An investigation is underway by the NYPD, more details on @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/7Nabntk11l
— Jenna DeAngelis (@jennamdeangelis) May 6, 2019
Police found the girl's father, 39, with burns all over his body near the scene. He is currently in police custody at Jamaica Hospital. Another witness, Owen Johnson, explained to WCBS 2, "After [firefighters] brought the little girl out of the car, we started telling them that there’s somebody that got caught on fire that might need help, that they should go into the park."
Silvera said a neighbor suggested to the man that he go to Baisley Pond Park, "She told him to run, run to the water."
The father reportedly had a "limited history of domestic violence" with Zoey's mother and the pair had been fighting over custody of the girl, who lived with her mother in Queens.
Police are treating Zoey's death as a homicide.