VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In March, a father told a Washington D.C. family courts judge that he was concerned about his wife’s deteriorating mental health and afraid for his daughter’s safety when she was with her mother.
Four months later, his toddler daughter is dead and her mother is charged with felony child abuse and neglect.
Virginia Beach police discovered 38-year-old Leandra Andrade unconscious and her 2-year-old daughter, Lanoix, dead on Monday at the Cutty Sark Motel. Investigators were called to the hotel to check on a “possible suicidal person” after Leandra Andrade texted sent a friend a text that said she and Lanoix “would look down on them from Heaven.”
Leandra Andrade also posted pictures of her daughter on Instagram and referred to Lanoix in the past tense, according to a search warrant obtained by 10 On Your Side.
Leandra Andrade and her daughter checked into the motel on Saturday — one day after a Washington D.C. family courts judge awarded her husband, Fabio, sole legal custody of their daughter. The parents still shared physical custody of the toddler, who was with her mother for a regularly-scheduled weekend.
The custody battle between Fabio and Leandra Andrade began on March 17 when the father filed an emergency motion for temporary custody in Washington D.C. family court. 10 On Your Side investigators obtained a copy of that emergency motion, which shows Fabio Andrade told the judge that his wife was in “mental distress” and that he was afraid she was a danger to herself and to their daughter.
The motion detailed Leandra Andrade’s “extreme change in behaviors,” including increased paranoia, cutting off contact with close family members, and forcing her husband to live in the basement.
The husband also alleged that Leandra Andrade attempted suicide twice as an adult, in 2004 and 2007. Fabio Andrade said that his wife kept those suicide attempts a secret from him, and he was informed of them by her aunt, who was also concerned about Leandra Andrade’s change in behavior, court records state.
Fabio Andrade alleged that the situation between him and his wife deteriorated so badly that on March 16 he had to call the Metro Police Department on her after she woke him up by shining a flashlight in his face and began questioning him. Arriving officers discovered that Leandra Andrade made a police report against her husband the week prior and ended the interaction with the couple by arresting Fabio Andrade according to the department’s “second citation policy.” He was released from custody and the case against him was dismissed later that day, court records show.
On that same day, Leandra Andrade’s aunt and father drove from South Carolina to Washington D.C. for an “intervention” and to encourage her to seek mental health treatment. Although they were close, Leandra Andrade cut off all contact with her aunt in the months prior. Her aunt was very concerned about her mental state, but when she arrived in Washington D.C., Leandra Andrade refused to speak to her aunt or let her into her home, court records state.
When Fabio Andrade arrived back from the police station on March 16, Leandra Andrade allegedly left their home with their daughter and would not tell her husband where she was. She also used their credit card to buy a flight, according to court records.
10 On Your Side investigators also obtained other court records that were filed in the custody matter. They show that Fabio and Leandra Andrade made “competing allegations of abuse against each other.”
The parents continued to share physical custody of Lanoix despite their separation. Fabio Andrade alleged that his wife tried to prevent him from taking their daughter during his court-appointed time. The parents were supposed to hand off Lanoix at a nearby park every few days. Interactions that should have only taken a minute had, on occasion, taken between six and seven hours.
Fabio Andrade alleged that his wife refused to give his daughter to him, demanded that he drop the custody case, and pleaded that they live together as a family again, court records state.
During a difficult transition, Leandra Andrade allegedly told her husband that if he didn’t have the custody case dismissed by July 1, she would “have to make a decision that would change everything big time and [he] won’t be happy about it.”