The distraught mother was later taken to a local hospital and remained under sedation Thursday evening.
Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the girl, Engle said.
Hours after the discovery, the van remained parked in the driveway.
Inside the van were magic markers, a kite and crayons, a little girl’s handbag and two beige boots, along with water bottles, candy and several cans of Bud Light margarita.
Also, a white sweater with an image of Betty Boop and pink flower prints was draped over the back seat.
Neighbors who knew Amira and the family were heartbroken.
Rita Avalos is a neighbor of Paredes’ in Davie, and she, too, has a 6-year-old daughter, named Ana, who used to play with Amira. The girls were classmates in the first grade at Driftwood Elementary School in Hollywood, and they would often play together in the yard after school, Avalos said.
“I have no idea how I’m going to tell her about this,” Avalos said in tears.
Avalos said Amira used to like carrying makeup in her purse.
“She was a happy child, smart, talkative, friendly and it was obvious to our family that she had a bright future ahead of her,’’ Avalos said in Spanish. “She was going to be somebody in this country.’’
Andrade’s neighbors on the 5700 block of Taft Street in Hollywood said the little girl was gregarious, and loved to play with dogs.
“She was beautiful, very friendly, very happy,’’ said Angela Navarro, 51, who has an 11-year-old daughter named Jennifer who also used to play with Amira.
“She was always playing with the dog,’’ Navarro said of Amira. “She liked to come over to my house because I have two dogs.’’
Navarro and her husband, Hugo, 63, said they knew Andrade to be a quiet, responsible and friendly neighbor.
“He was normal, humble,’’ she said. “He went out every afternoon to sell his ice creams.’’
Hugo Navarro said he spoke with Andrade on Wednesday afternoon, and that they exchanged greetings and made small talk.
“He was sad. You could see it,’’ Hugo Navarro said. “But I never thought he would do that.’’
Most perplexing to Hugo Navarro is why Andrade would take the life of his beloved daughter.
“When he watched her, he never let her out of his sight,’’ he said. “He went with her everywhere.’’
He said that Paredes and Andrade lived in the Hollywood apartment with their daughter. Paredes moved out about a year ago, although her name is still on the mailbox outside the fourplex apartment building.
Paredes’ neighbors in Davie said the couple struggled, divorced, but had been on-again, off-again, trying to work things out.
“Vicky had told me that she had broken up with Paul because he had been unfaithful several times,’’ Avalos said. “He wasn’t helping out financially. He wasn’t really being there for her.”
Paredes moved to Davie to be close to her parents, who also live nearby, Avalos said.
News of the murder-suicide shocked and saddened Paredes’ neighbors in Davie, where many are preparing for the holidays. Christmas decorations adorn apartment units.
“What would drive some one to kill that beautiful little girl?’’ asked Katherine Baro, 21, who struggled to make sense of the tragedy. “This is so sad.”
Yoelia Maldonado, a 20-year-old immigrant from Guatemala, said many of the residents are farm workers.
“Christmas is already a sad time for a lot of them who are away from their families, and now this,’’ she said.
“My 2-year old daughter is in Guatemala. I couldn’t imagine losing her that way.”
Miami Herald staff writers Carli Teproff and Christina Veiga contributed to this report.