The father of a 35-year-old old woman whose badly decomposed body was found in a car along with her 3-year-old twins struggled for answers Tuesday as Melbourne detectives work to determine how the three died.
Police said Andrea Langhorst, who lived off and on in her Cadillac with her two children, Olivia and Adam, was identified Monday. The three were identified by police as being from St. Lucie County.
An autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of deaths for the three, whose bodies were found in the car, parked at Manatee Cove apartments off of U.S. 1 in Melbourne.
“It’s still under investigation. We don’t have any information as far as how long they were there. But she was living out of her car,” said Lt. Shaun Hill, spokesman for the Melbourne Police Department.
Detectives have no reason to believe there is an active or persistent danger to the community because of the deaths, he said.
Randy Langhorst, of Fort Pierce, said he and his family were devastated by the news.
He had not heard from his daughter since March 11 and had contacted police last weekend to be on the lookout for her.
“We were looking for her and hadn’t heard anything from her. That was unusual for her. We wouldn’t have daily contact with her, but this was a while,” Langhorst told FLORIDA TODAY.
“She was a free spirit, smart as a whip, beautiful, but lived her life to the beat of her own drummer. It’s just a tragedy,” he said, his voice wavering with emotion.
The gruesome discovery was reported to Melbourne police at 10:50 p.m Sunday after a caller relayed a message that there was a suspicious vehicle parked at the Manatee Cove Apartment complex at 746 Madelyn Way.
Patrol officers arrived within minutes, approached the gray Cadillac, which was emanating a foul smell near the trash bin. The windows were fogged, reports show.
Officers spotted the remains of the mother and the twins inside the vehicle.
Detectives had the vehicle and the remains moved to the Brevard medical examiner’s office where investigators were working to find any evidence of blunt force trauma.
A blood toxicology was also scheduled to determine if drug use was a factor.
It’s not known if the three died at the same time, or if the mother died first and the children later. Detectives were hoping to review video of the Cadillac as it pulled into the apartment complex’s parking lot and any interaction Andrea Langhorst may have had with anyone.
Randy Langhorst said he suspects drugs may have been a factor in his daughter’s death. Andrea Langhorst had several drug arrests and had attended drug court, St. Lucie County court records show.
The children’s father is at the Brevard County Jail Complex, awaiting trial in an unrelated case, investigators said.
“The twins were her pride and joy. All I can think is that maybe…maybe the car was running and she fell asleep, maybe the fumes overwhelmed them. I don’t know,” Langhorst said.
Andrea and the twins had stayed with her parents in Fort Pierce during the holidays. They shared Thanksgiving as the grandparents watched the movie “Shrek” with Adam and taught Olivia how to swim.
“Olivia was a little more outgoing,” Langhorst said.
In addition to living in her car, Andrea stayed at Airbnb rentals, staying off the radar, her father said.
He described her as being in pretty good spirits when he last saw her.
Her parents had talked with Andrea repeatedly about the possibility of the grandkids staying with them, but Andrea was insistent on keeping her children, her father recalled.
“It was final. It was her decision. We didn’t exactly approve of her lifestyle. Everything is hindsight, but I’ll be kicking my (butt) for the rest of my life,” he said.
“All I can think about are those babies.”
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Melbourne police investigate how mother, twins of St Lucie County died