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Father of 2-year-old girl found dead in Virginia Beach says he’d been ‘fighting tirelessly’ for full custody

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The mother of a 2-year-old girl found dead in an Oceanfront hotel room this week was arraigned Wednesday on a felony child abuse charge.

Leandra Andrade, 38, of Washington, arrived Tuesday at the Virginia Beach city jail, shortly after her release from a hospital. She’s being held without bond.

Her arraignment was held in Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. A bond hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Andrade told substitute Judge Anthony Nicolo she’s a housewife and wasn’t sure if she’d be able to afford an attorney. She said she plans to ask family for help. The judge said he’d appoint a public defender if she’s unable to get assistance.

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Tabitha Anderson said afterward that her office is waiting to receive reports from various agencies before deciding whether to charge Andrade with more serious offenses. The cause and manner of her daughter’s death has yet to be released but police said the circumstances appeared to be suspicious.

Virginia Beach police responded to a hotel in the 3600 block of Atlantic Avenue Monday and found the girl dead and the mother suffering a medical emergency after D.C. police were alerted to their location. The woman left Washington after the girl’s father was awarded full legal custody of the child in a hearing July 26, according to D.C. police. Physical custody was split evenly between the two parents.

An attorney for the girl’s father, Fabio E. Andrade, released a statement Wednesday in which he mourned the loss of his child and asked for privacy for himself and his family.

“My daughter Lanoix loved life and loved to make her friends and family smile,” the statement said. “I am devastated that the opportunity for Lanoix to continue living a happy and loving life was senselessly taken from her.”

The statement went on to say that Fabio Andrade had been “fighting tirelessly” since March to obtain full physical and legal custody of his daughter.

“The court ruling last week awarding me temporary sole legal custody was one of several successful steps toward that goal,” the statement said. “But that ruling did not affect the existing, court-ordered temporary shared physical custody schedule that put Lanoix with her mother last weekend.”

Leandra Andrade was last seen Friday in Washington, according to the area’s Metropolitan Police Department.

Posts on Leandra Andrade’s Facebook account contain numerous photos of Lanoix. Before the girl was born, there were multiple posts of Leandra and Fabio Andrade together — at their 2015 wedding, on their engagement day, and on vacations to places like the Bahamas and Costa Rica. The posts began to indicate a change in their relationship starting in January.

 

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