The father of a 3-year-old found burned to death in a chained-shut car in Queens Sunday tried to hide from cops as his daughter was consumed by flames, according to police sources.
Martin Pereira, 39, was found stripped down to his underwear and hiding near Baisley Park Pond — while a tan Audi A6 containing his 3-year-old daughter Zoey Pereira smoldered hundreds of feet away near Baisley Boulevard and 155th Street, the source said.
“The only reason [cops] found him was that a piece of his clothing was on fire. He was stripped down to his underwear,” the source said, adding that Pereira was trying to hide from police.
Pereira was taken into custody but has not been charged in Zoey’s death — which was ruled a homicide Monday. Doctors were treating him for second- and third-degree burns at Weill-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan on Monday.
Cops believe the dad was embroiled in a custody dispute with Zoey’s mom and was supposed to be returning the child to the mother Sunday night, another law enforcement source said.
The frantic mom called 911 to report her child missing around the same time Zoey was burning, the source added.
Two of the girl’s aunts raged about Pereira outside the tot’s mother’s house Monday.
“He did that to her. That’s not even human, that’s an animal,” said one of the aunts.
“Hopefully he dies. I’m just being honest. I hope he dies,” the other added.
It was Pereira’s second weekend with the child since he split with Zoey’s mom, the second aunt added.
“His behavior recently has been very erratic,” she said.
Pierera posted a photo of Zoey to Facebook just hours before she was killed.
The portrait shows the little girl with freshly styled hair sitting in what appears to be a hair salon with balloons in the background.
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