Paul Andrade was the neighborhood ice cream man who drove a white truck playing carousel music around west Hollywood, usually with his 6-year-old daughter, Amira, riding alongside.
Andrade, 30, was a doting father, neighbors said, and Amira was a gregarious, slightly precocious little girl with light brown hair who liked playing with dogs and carrying makeup in her handbag.
An Ecuadorean immigrant enrolled in adult education courses at McFatter Technical Center in Davie, Andrade appeared to be planning for a future as an air-conditioning repairman, neighbors said.
That future came to a tragic end Thursday morning in Davie outside the home of Andrade’s ex-wife, Vicky Paredes, where neighbors found Andrade, Amira and the family dog dead inside a blue Nissan Quest van — victims of an apparent murder-suicide committed by Andrade, police said.
Andrade left a suicide note, said Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle, although he declined to divulge what it said or where it was found.
He said Andrade is suspected of having attached a hose to the van’s exhaust pipe, then placed the hose inside the van where he and his daughter and the family dog remained.
They appear to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, although the official cause of death is under investigation by the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Engle said Andrade and Paredes divorced about a year ago and that he appeared to be distraught over their failed marriage.
“The father was upset that the mother recently remarried,’’ Engle said.
Andrade had routine visitation rights with Amira, and the girl stayed overnight Wednesday with her father in Hollywood, Engle added.
Sometime before Thursday morning, Andrade drove to Paredes’ home on the 3700 block of Northwest 74th Avenue in Davie with his daughter and dog. He parked outside her corner apartment unit.
“He inserted the pipe in the rear window of the van, attached the other end to the exhaust, and killed himself, his daughter and his dog,’’ Engle said.
A neighbor who arrived on the scene before police said the van’s windows had been sealed with air-conditioning tape.
Leila Lacharite, 33, said she was walking her dog at about 6:30 a.m. when she heard screams. She followed them to find a distraught woman holding a little girl wearing pink pajamas. Two high school students stood nearby. Lacharite, a certified nurse assistant, said she checked the girl’s pulse but found none. She also administered CPR.
“I knew she was gone when I went to pull her jaw down and noticed it was already stiffening,” Lacharite said. “I did everything that I was taught to do. She had been dead for two to three hours. She didn’t have any lacerations. She looked peaceful.”
She said she also saw Andrade inside the van, and a flexible, metallic-colored hose taped to the back window and attached to the exhaust pipe.
“He used tape to seal the window so no air could escape from the gaps,” Lacharite said.
Police got an emergency call at about 6:30 a.m. from two students walking by and spotted the metal pipe attached to the van.
“They alerted a neighbor,’’ Engle said.
By the time police arrived, the child had been removed from the van. Officers found Paredes holding Amira in her arms, rocking her and crying.