Anyone who sees 7-day-old newborn Andrew Caballeiro or knows his whereabouts should call 911. Anyone who has information about this case, or saw the white 2001 Chevrolet Express van before noon Wednesday is asked to call the Miami-Dade Police Department at (305) 471-2400 or the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 847-8102.
DADE CITY — The man wanted for the murder of three women in Miami-Dade County was found dead more than 300 miles away in the woods of rural northeast Pasco County on Wednesday, authorities said.
But where is the 7-day-old infant he is accused of taking from the murder scene?
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement agencies across the state were still looking for baby Andrew as night fell.
The day started with a statewide Amber Alert issued as authorities scrambled to find Ernesto Caballeiro, 49. Miami-Dade police believe he executed three women in his family with a high-powered rifle days earlier in South Dade, then took his newborn son with him, according to the Miami Herald.
That afternoon the search zeroed in on Blanton, a rural community of ranches north of Dade City. A caller reported seeing a white van left on the side of Jessamine Road. A Pasco sheriff’s sergeant found the van at about 12:27 p.m. and confirmed that it was the white 2001 Chevrolet Express van that Caballeiro was driving, per the Amber Alert.
There was no one inside the van. So sheriff’s canines were called to the scene, and found a body in the woods about 50 yards away. It was Ernesto Caballeiro, dead after shooting himself with a rifle, the agency said.
Law enforcement personnel and volunteers poured into the area and searched for the missing baby any potential evidence using bloodhounds, off-road vehicles and horses. But Andrew could not be found. Now authorities hope the infant is with a blonde woman who a witness saw riding in the van with the father before his death.
“I sit here and pray to god that it is true and that she has the baby,” Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference held near the site of the search.
Inside the van, deputies found a pacifier but no car seat. Investigators are still trying to retrace Caballeiro’s path, Nocco said, but he may have arrived in the Pasco area sometime Tuesday afternoon. The van was found just three miles from Interstate 75.
The sheriff said they don’t know why he chose to stop in Pasco County. The van still had about a half-tank of diesel left.
“It seems like he took a couple of quick turns off 75,” Nocco said.
Investigators are working with the witness to create a composite image of the blonde woman to help locate her.
They also released photos of the van, which was white and slightly beat up with a “FeelTheBern” bumper sticker on the left rear fender. Investigators want to talk to anyone who saw the van in the previous 36 hours before it was discovered Wednesday, going back to midnight Tuesday.
The van was featured in the Amber Alert issued earlier that morning for Andrew and his father.
“Obviously this is a tragedy. A sad tragedy and we need to locate Mr. Caballeiro,” Miami-Dade Police Detective Argemis Colome told the Herald. “We know he did take his newborn and we’re definitely concerned about his safety.”
Police discovered the crime scene Tuesday by relatives who could not get in touch with the child’s mother, according to the Herald.
The women were between the ages of 40 and 80, police said. The Herald reported that a law enforcement source said the victims were the infant’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Police also believe there may be a 24-hour gap between when they were killed and when their bodies were discovered.
Their names have not been released by Miami-Dade police.
Police blocked off roads near Caballeiro’s home at 21981 SW 187th Ave., as helicopters hovered overhead and police dogs searched fields, canals and around homes. Caballeiro has owned the home since 2005, according to property records.
Caballeiro’s home, which sits on about four acres of land, Miami-Dade property records show, is in the Redland area just northwest of Homestead. Detectives spent Wednesday morning walking in and out of the home.
Public records list Nesty School Services as a company owned by Caballeiro that transports students to and from about a dozen South Dade elementary, middle and high schools. Its Facebook page says it’s licensed and insured. Some of the schools listed on its website include Coral Reef and Robert Morgan Senior High Schools and Jack D. Gordon Elementary.
Miami-Dade Public Schools spokeswoman Daisy Gonzalez said Nesty is not a contracted vendor with the school system. She said it’s not unusual for companies to market themselves independently and contract service directly with parents.
El Nuevo reporter Ana Claudia Chacin, Miami Herald Staff Writers David Ovalle, Michelle Marchant and Carli Teproff and Tampa Bay Times reporter Jack Evans and photographer Octavio Jones contributed to this report.