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DC woman's husband claimed she struggled with mental illness before child's death

Court filings say Leandra Andrade's husband had concerns about 'changes in her personality' prior to the death of their two-year-old daughter, Lanoix, in VA Beach.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Authorities have accused a D.C. mother of abusing her 2-year-old daughter who was recently found deceased. Now, court documents show that woman’s husband repeatedly claimed she struggled with mental illness.

On Wednesday, a Virginia Beach judge arraigned Leandra Andrade, of Northeast D.C., on a Class Four felony charge related to child neglect and abuse. Leandra Andrade’s arrest warrant accuses her of causing or permitting serious injury to the life of a child by willful act or refusal to provide the necessary care.

Virginia Beach Police discovered Leandra Andrade’s daughter, Lanoix, dead in a hotel room, along the Virginia Beach oceanfront, early Monday morning. Lanoix’s cause of death has not been released. 

On Monday, Virginia Beach authorities claimed Leandra Andrade was also in the same hotel room as Lanoix suffering from an unidentified medical emergency. Search warrants show that the Virginia Beach Police received a call for a "possible suicidal person." The call was made by a friend from D.C. who got worried after receiving a text message from Leandra Andrade saying “they would look down on them from Heaven" and then seeing photos of Lanoix posted on Instagram by Leandra, talking about her daughter in the past tense. 

The search warrant shows that Leandra Andrade sent her location to that same friend. When Virginia Beach Police officers arrived at the motel they found Leandra Andrade unconscious, and Lanoix was dead. Officers were able to revive Leandra Andrade using Narcan, and she was taken to the hospital. 

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said Leandra Andrade had left the District Friday, which was the same day a judge ruled her husband, Fabio Andrade, would be granted 100% temporary legal custody of their daughter.

Legal documents filed in D.C. Superior Court this Spring state that Fabio Andrade had long suspected his wife of six years of struggling with a mental illness that impacted her ability to properly co-parent their child.

A motion seeking temporary emergency custody of Lanoix, filed by Fabio Andrade on March 16, claimed Leandra Andrade had “absconded” with their daughter to an unknown location the day before. The filing also said Fabio Andrade had recently learned his wife had attempted to take her life twice as an adult and that her aunt had driven to the District from South Carolina to get her to “persuade her to seek treatment”.

Fabio Andrade also claimed his wife had demonstrated changes in her personality, exhibited paranoia, and cut off close contact with family members. A judge’s order filed at that time reads Fabio Andrade should have temporary sole legal and physical emergency custody of Lanoix.

Two months later, Fabio Andrade motioned in Superior court to enter an order for a private custody evaluation for the couple from a doctor. Fabio Andrade claimed his wife, who he had been separated from since at least May 1, had been acting increasingly erratically.

However, the same court filing also stated that was an allegation Leandra Andrade denied.

“Ms. Andrade disputes most of these allegations,” the court document reads.

Fabio Andrade filed another motion on July 1 to enforce the temporary custody order and adjust the way the couple handled its transitions of Lanoix, not long after another filing order detailed the approval of a private custody evaluation for the couple.

The filing revealed the parties, who had been sharing joint custody of their daughter since April, were initially ordered to hand over Lanoix to one another in a nearby park. However, Fabio Andrade claimed his wife started to make the transitions “rough” in the summer.

The D.C. father claimed there were two occasions in June when Leandra Andrade allegedly dragged-out transitions in the park to last more than six hours. The filing added that Leandra Andrade had even occasionally asked her husband, to whom she is still officially married, to get back together as a couple.

Another judge’s order later called for the couple’s transitions to take place outside of the receiving parents’ homes.

MPD said a missing person’s report was never filed for Leandra Andrade and her daughter on Friday. While a judge did grant Fabio Andrade full temporary legal custody of Lanoix, the couple still shared joint physical custody protections.

Divorce attorney Reza Golesorkhi, who represented Leandra Andrade, said he and others were aware she was to have physical custody of Lanoix last weekend.

On Wednesday, Fabio Andrade’s attorney Matt Andelman released a statement provided by his client.

“My daughter Lanoix loved life and loved to make her friends and family smile. I am devastated that the opportunity for Lanoix to continue living a happy and loving life was senselessly taken from her. I have been fighting tirelessly since March of this year for full physical and legal custody in order to provide my daughter the life she deserved. The court ruling last week awarding me temporary sole legal custody was one of several successful steps toward that goal. But that ruling did not affect the existing, court-ordered temporary shared physical custody schedule that put Lanoix with her mother last weekend. The family and friends of Lanoix ask for privacy at this time so that we may mourn our beloved angel.” 

A judge set a bond hearing for Leandra Andrade, Thursday morning, in Virginia Beach. The hearing was continued after Leandra Andrade obtained new legal counsel. 

Neighbors in the Northeast D.C. community where Fabio and Leandra Andrade once lived said they were shocked to hear about the allegations made about her.

"When you saw her on the outside, it seems she would never do anything to her child, she loved her baby," said neighbor Aaron Holloway.

But he also said neighbors felt like something was wrong.

"She looked frail," Holloway said. "Like, something was going on mentally to me that's not her.”

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