The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an Amber Alert for Andrew Caballeiro and his father, Ernesto Caballeiro, overnight Wednesday. The alert was issued after three women were found shot dead Tuesday in a rural area in south Miami-Dade County. Included in the Amber Alert was a description of the van Ernesto Caballeiro was believed to have been driving.
That van was found in Blanton, more than 300 miles from where the women’s bodies were discovered, after the Pasco Sheriff’s Office received a call about a suspicious vehicle in a very rural area three miles off Interstate 75 around noon Wednesday, said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.
A deputy who arrived at the scene found nobody in or around the van, Nocco said.
After a K9 arrived, deputies searched a wooded area nearby and found the body of a man and a rifle about 50 yards away. Nocco said the man matched the description of Ernesto Caballeiro, 49, and it appeared he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Deputies, volunteers and K9s searched the area and found no sign of the baby. An update from the Pasco Sheriff’s office said Thursday that authorities believe Caballeiro left the Miami-Dade County area about four and half hours before arriving at the location in Pasco County, remaining there for only minutes before fatally shooting himself.
The sheriff’s office also said that there was no evidence that confirmed Andrew was with his father at the site where the van was found.
Suspicions that a blonde woman seen sitting in the van might have Andrew were dashed Thursday morning. The investigation suggested that the female may have been someone who stopped to check on the vehicle after the incident occurred and not directly involved with the case.
“All we care about is that little Andrew is OK. All we care about is that we get that baby back,” Nocco said. “There was no car seat in the vehicle. The baby may be anywhere in the state.”
Miami-Dade officers had been searching for Ernesto Caballeiro since Tuesday. He is related to at least one of the women found killed, but had not been named as a suspect.
Investigators were trying to piece together the path Caballeiro had traveled, asking for help from anyone who may have spotted the van. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office shared a map that suggests his route.
“On behalf of the half a million residents of Pasco County, our thoughts and prayers remains with the family of Andrew Caballeiro,” the sheriff’s office said on its Facebook page. “We are hopeful for his safe return.