A mother is haunted by the last words of what her child’s father said before he allegedly locked their baby daughter in a car and burned her to death.
“You’ll never see your daughter again,” recalls Cherone Coleman, 36.
“I always thought he was going to hurt me,” Coleman, told the NY Daily News after her 3-year-old daughter Zoey was discovered in a charred Audi in Springfield Gardens.
“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 anymore.”
On Sunday, firefighters battled a car blaze that was allegedly set by Martin Pereira, the girl’s father. Prior to the horrific event, Coleman and Pereira battled for custody. Pereira reportedly became more aggressive in recent weeks. Coleman said she tried to change the visitation agreement, but her request was denied by a judge.
With Pereira’s custody still intact, he left on Saturday to spend the weekend with Zoey.
By Monday, Coleman was regretting her decision to follow the judge’s order and blamed herself for obeying.
“I should’ve just kept her and gone to jail,” she said.
Coleman said Pereira tried to pin her as an abusive parent and took Zoey to Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park and made false claims against her.
“He was calling me a drug dealer and a drug addict,” Coleman said.
Despite her denying the claims, Coleman said Pereira was able to still spend time with Zoey.
“They let him leave with her because he had all the paperwork stating he had visitation,” Coleman said.
On Sunday morning, Coleman said, Pereira continued to antagonize her by calling her repeatedly, but she rejected his calls.
She said she spoke to him on Sunday after he called one of her relatives who then got I touch with her.
“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.’”
The nightmare soon unfolded as Coleman desperately put in a call to 911 to report that Pereira was planning to do something terrible to her daughter.
By Sunday night Zoey was found dead in the back on Pereira’s fiery car on Baisley Blvd. at 154th St., near Baisley Pond Park. Pereira jumped in the pond because his clothes were on fire while Zoey burned in his Audi.
“I have my kid in the car,” the father said.
The car doors were chained, preventing rescuers from being able to gain quick access to Zoey.
According to reports Zoey was rushed to Jamaica Hospital in a police vehicle but succumbed to her injuries. Two gas cans and a propane tank were found in the car and 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.”
Pereira was treated at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan and is in police custody at the hospital, according to reports. Zoey’s death has been declared a homicide.
“I wish I could torture him and kill him. 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,” Coleman said.
The grieving mom wrestled with emotions.
“I want him to live, and suffer for what he did to my daughter,” said Coleman, who is a medical assistant at Jamaica Estates Medical Center.