The mother of a 2-year-old girl from the District has been charged with child abuse after the toddler was found dead Monday in a hotel room in Virginia Beach, according to police and prosecutors.
Officials said she is being represented by the public defender’s office, which did not return a phone call or an email seeking comment.
D.C. police said Andrade left the District with the toddler, identified by her father as Lanoix, this past weekend following a custody hearing in D.C. Superior Court. Police said Andrade was found early Monday critically ill in the hotel room near the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Police said the child was found dead in the room.
Police in Virginia Beach said the results of an autopsy are pending and they are awaiting a ruling on how the child died. They said they are also trying to determine how her mother became ill.
Court records show a D.C. Superior Court judge on Friday awarded temporary sole legal custody of Lanoix to her father, Fabio Enrique Andrade Jr., allowing him the right to make decisions on her behalf, such as for medical care and school. The judge awarded the Andrades temporary joint physical custody, which allowed Lanoix to be with her mother this past weekend.
A custody hearing had been scheduled for November.
The girl’s identity has not been released publicly by officials in Virginia Beach. But on Wednesday, Fabio Andrade issued a statement through his attorney, Matt Andelman.
“My daughter Lanoix loved life and loved to make her friends and family smile,” the statement reads. “I am devastated that the opportunity for Lanoix to continue living a happy and loving life was senselessly taken from her. ”
Fabio Andrade said in the statement he has been fighting for months for full custody of Lanoix “in order to provide my daughter the life she deserved.”