Anyone who knows the movements of baby Andrew’s father Ernesto Caballiero on the day the family was brutally murdered should come forward immediately.
That was the plea of Detective Fernando Alvarez, the private investigator with nonprofit Missing Children Global Network, who took over the case after the police called off the once-massive manhunt for the missing infant.
“That’s what the family wants,” Alvarez, who has worked as a private investigator specializing in missing persons for nearly 20 years, told InsideEdition.com. “They want closure, just to know what happened.”
The search for Baby Andrew began nearly three weeks ago, when the bodies of his mother, Arlety Garcia-Valdez, 40, his grandmother Isabela Valdes, 60, and his great-grandmother Lina Gonzalez, 84, were found shot to death in their South Miami-Dade County home Jan. 28. Baby Andrew, who was just 1-week-old at the time, was nowhere to be found.
Authorities believed baby Andrew was with his 49-year-old father, Ernesto Caballiero, and sent out an Amber Alert shortly after discovering the grisly scene. Caballiero was found dead with what police believe it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the woods in Pasco County a day later.
Baby Andrew was still nowhere to be found and Alvarez and his team have been on the hunt since Feb. 3.
“We are basically conducting the same type of investigation that the police conducted,” he explained. Alvarez’s team has interviewed friends and family, reviewed footage of highways Caballiero could have taken and even searched on foot the 220-mile stretch of land where authorities believe baby Andrew could have been left.
“What we believe is they basically got in an argument, [Caballiero] took the life of all the three females, then took the baby, left the house to find a place that’s difficult to find to bury the child in a proper way for him, then drove away without leaving any trace to take his own life as far from the child as he could,” Alvarez said of their findings. “It’s difficult to know because the witnesses of that day are all dead.”
Despite many hoping baby Andrew is alive, Alvarez said it is unlikely Caballiero left the infant to be cared for by someone else. Based on his and his colleagues' interviews with people who knew the family, Alvarez said he believes “[Caballiero] was possessive. [He thought] ‘Either I raise this child or no one will,’ and separation [from Garcia-Valdes] was in the horizon,” he said.
Based on those suspicions and considering it would be impossible for such a young baby to survive on its own, “it’s very unlikely” that baby Andrew is still alive, Alvarez said.
Yet when the authorities called off their search on Thursday, the Missing Children Global Network continued.
“Honestly, this is like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Alvarez said. “Most likely it’s going to fail, and he will never be found, but there is always a possibility. Hope is the last thing you want to lose.”
On Friday, his team scoured potential highway routes Caballiero potentially took the day before his body was found.
“[We were] on the ground, walking next to the cars, following any trail or checking any piece of clothing or towels or whatever we found [on the side of the road],” Alvarez explained. “There are many things people throw in the road but the family will be able to identify the pieces [if] they belonged to the family.”
Unfortunately, baby Andrew’s family was not able to identify anything that looked familiar.
“[Caballiero] took many roads that doesn’t have any camera, doesn’t have any tolls, so that’s why we think he knew what he was doing,” Alvarez said. “He planned it all, he had in his mind what he had to do and did it.”
He explained while the police department has more manpower, resources and accessibility, one of the advantages a private team has is flexibility. “We can conduct searches on the weekends, after hours, if we try to talk to a potential witness during business hours and he or she is not present, we’ll come back later,” he explained.
In the case of Sebastián Gregory, a 19-year-old who was found dead in a wooded area 17 hours after he went missing, the Missing Children Global Network was able to track down his body before the authorities. The day the police deployed their resources, including K9 units and helicopters, it had begun raining, Alvarez said. His team waited out the storm and searched the area as the weather cleared up and got to the body first, he recalled.
Other times, their team has been able to find missing persons before the case has even been assigned to a detective, he said. For the Missing Children Global Network, it’s not about whether the case falls under homicide or missing persons. As soon as a family contacts them with the case of a missing child, “we start right away,” Alvarez said.
The most helpful thing now to change the course of their investigation would be a tip from anyone who knew of Alvarez’s movements of that day. “We need the help of the community if we want to find Andrew.”
To contact the Missing Children Global Network, call 1-855-482-5378 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.