(CNN) — The car fire that killed a 3-year-old girl in New York City on Sunday night is believed to have been set by the toddler’s father, according to a law enforcement source.
Large, heavy chains were used to secure the doors inside the car during the fire, according to the source, but it’s unclear how exactly the chains were used because the interior of the vehicle was so badly damaged.
The disturbing details come after New York City firefighters extinguishing a car fire discovered the toddler alone inside the vehicle just before 9 p.m. on Sunday. The car was parked in a residential Queens neighborhood, just minutes away from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
While fighting the flames, firefighters got the toddler out of the burning vehicle, but the child died of her injuries at Jamaica Hospital in Queens. The New York City Medical Examiner will determine the official cause of death, according to NYPD Detective Annette Shelton.
A second law enforcement source told CNN that the father was the suspect and that authorities are not looking for anyone else in relation to the crime.
At least one propane tank and two gasoline cans were found in the trunk of the car, both sources said.
The sources said it was unclear if the father was in the car at some point and trying to kill himself. The 39-year-old man suffered burns to 70% of his body and has not made any statements yet, as he is intubated in the hospital.
He was discovered a short distance away, in a nearby pond attempting to put out flames on his body, according to a third law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
Police took the 39-year-old man into custody and emergency responders took him to an area hospital in serious but stable condition. He is expected to survive, this source said.
The father and the child’s mother were in the midst of a custody battle, according to the source, and both had filed domestic incident reports against the other.
No charges have yet been filed, according to the Queens County district attorney’s Office.
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