The father suspected of burning his 3-year-old daughter alive reportedly cannot speak to investigators because he was so severely injured in the car fire that he appears to have set himself.
The New York Post reports that Martin Pereira, 39, remains hospitalized in the burn unit of Weill Cornell Medical Center and is medically sedated, making it impossible for investigators to speak to him.
On Monday, authorities announced that the death of Pereira’s daughter Zoey was a homicide but he has not yet been charged with her murder — apparently due to his condition.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, responders pulled 3-year-old Zoey from a burning vehicle in Queens, finding that the doors had been chained shut – but the heat from the flames melted the car door handle, allowing responders to retrieve the girl. But the toddler could not be saved, and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The girl’s father reportedly fled the vehicle at some point after it had been set on fire, and was apprehended by police after he fled and ran into a nearby pond.
Pereira was reportedly involved in a custody dispute with the girl’s mother, who told the New York Daily News that Pereira called her on Sunday, shortly before the horrifying incident, threatening her and telling her she would never see her daughter again.
According to the New York Post, Pereira has burns on 7o percent of his body. The report did not indicate whether authorities believe he is likely to survive his injuries.