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Long IslandCrime

LI man charged in car fire death of daughter, 3, NYPD says

Martin Pereira, of Valley Stream, faces murder charges in the killing of Zoey Pereira on May 5, the NYPD said.

NYPD officers at scene of the car fire

NYPD officers at scene of the car fire at 154th Street and Baisley Boulevard in Springfield Gardens, in Queens, on May 5. Martin Pereira, 39, of Valley Stream, was charged Friday with murder, arson and reckless endangerment in the death of his 3-year-old daughter, Zoey, in the fire, the NYPD said. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Valley Stream man has been charged with murder in the death of his 3-year-old daughter, who was trapped in a burning car in Queens early this month, police said.

Martin Pereira, 39, of Henry Street, was charged Friday with murder, arson and reckless endangerment, the NYPD said.

Police said they found the 2008 Audi burning the night of May 5 at 154th Street and Baisley Boulevard in Springfield Gardens, where they discovered the badly burned body of Zoey Pereira. The girl was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she died from the severe burns.

Pereira was found nearby with burns over most of his body, police said. He was sedated and taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, then transferred to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan under police custody, according to the NYPD.

Police said he had run into a pond to douse his burning clothes and told bystanders that his daughter was in the car. Police found a gasoline can and a butane canister by the car.

Zoey had been living with her mother in nearby Rochdale, the NYPD said. 

No arraignment for Pereira has been scheduled, Queens District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Meris Campbell said Saturday.

“He is in the hospital and he has been charged,” she said.

With Matthew Chayes

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