Search intensifies for missing baby after father found dead in Pasco County
DADE CITY, Fla. - A statewide Amber Alert continues as law enforcement officials search for any sign of 1-week-old Andrew Caballeiro, the baby last seen at the scene of a triple-murder in South Florida.
On Wednesday, Pasco County deputies found his father dead by suicide in Blanton, a rural area in Pasco County, near Dade City. Investigators announced Thursday morning there was no evidence discovered at the scene that confirms Andrew was with Ernesto while in Pasco County.
Deputies searched the rough terrain throughout the night, but my Thursday morning, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco announced it ended with no results in finding Andrew.
"We've exhausted all efforts from a physical search on the ground. Our detectives, forensics, K9s were out there all night long looking. We believe we collected every piece of evidence we could," Nocco explained to FOX 13. "Unfortunately, there wasn't much up there that could lead us to believe Andrew had entered Pasco County."
Police told WSVN 7News that the father, 49-year-old Ernesto, was accused of abducting his son after murdering three women in the Miami-area. Investigators in Pasco County said Ernesto left Miami-Dade County about four and a half hours before arriving in Blanton. They said he was only at that location minutes before dying from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"There is no indications we have that baby Andrew was with him up in Pasco," the sheriff said.
Police have since identified the murdered women as 40-year-old Arlety Garcia Valdes, 60-year-old Isabela Valdes, and 84-year-old Lina Gonzalez. WSVN also reports a family friend said the women are baby Andrew's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
An Amber Alert was issued Wednesday morning. By the evening hours, the van used by Ernesto and his body were found along Jessamine Road, just past Amberlea Road, northwest of Dade City.
On Wednesday, Nocco said a witness reported seeing a “blonde woman” inside Ernesto’s white van. However, after further investigating the claim, detectives said the reported female was likely someone who stopped to check on the vehicle after Ernesto allegedly shot himself.
He added that agencies from the Miami-area all the way up to Pasco County are searching for clues about Ernesto’s trip from the southeast corner of the state. It's believed Ernesto used Interstate 75 to travel north.
The sheriff said there were "distinctive bumper stickers" on the rear of the white van driven by Caballeiro. He hopes those stickers will help investigators create a timeline of Caballeiro's whereabouts. Anyone who believes they saw the van between Tuesday, Jan. 28 and Wednesday, Jan. 29 should call law enforcement right away.
"If there is a slim chance that he did hand the baby off, I hope to God that baby is still alive," Sheriff Nocco said.
Anyone with information, surveillance video, dashcam video, or anything else that can help the case is asked to call the Pasco County Sheriff's Office or 911.