04.12.2021

Everything we know about missing teenager Miya Marcano

That was around the last time anyone saw Ms Marcano, a 19-year-old living in Orlando, Florida who worked in the building’s leasing office and was due to fly to Fort Lauderdale that evening, Friday 24 September.

Miya Marcano had half an hour left until the end of her shift when someone used a master key to slip into her apartment.

Police now believe the person who entered her apartment was Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, a maintenance worker in the same building who was found dead on Monday in what appeared to be a suicide.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on (407) 836-4357.

Here’s everything we know about Ms Marcano’s disappearance.

Who is Miya ‘Mimi’ Marcano?

“I haven’t slept or eaten in days,” wrote Miya’s father Marlon Marcano, a DJ in south Florida, in the aftermath of her disappearance last week. “Your whole family is here looking for you. We will not stop until you’re back home.”

Ms Marcano, known as “Mimi” to her father, had been living in and working for a student housing complex called Arden Villas in Orlando, close to the University of South Florida, though she was not herself a student there.

According to her Facebook page, she graduated last year from high school in Broward County, which includes the city of Fort Lauderdale.

Colleagues last saw her at the end of her shift around 5pm on Friday 24 September, though it wasn’t until Monday morning that Arden Villas posted a missing notice on its Facebook page.

Her father said that she did not appear for her flight on Friday evening.

In the meantime, Ms Marcano’s friends and family recruited numerous volunteers to search for her and share bulletins online. A South Florida non-profit called Kingsman, focused on protecting women and children, offered $5,000 for any tip leading to her safe return.

Rebuffed advances and signs of a struggle

Police did not initially suspect Armando Manuel Caballero of any involvement. The 27-year-old had been working at Arden Villas since June, and told officers he had last seen Ms Marcano about two hours before she went missing.

But sheriffs soon learned that he had “demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya”, which she had to “repeatedly rebuff”, and issued a warrant for his arrest.

The sheriffs also determined that someone had accessed her apartment around 4.30pm on Friday 24 September using a building master key, which Caballero was known to have.

According to Fox 35, officers found signs of a struggle in Ms Marcano’s apartment, including a pillow stained with blood. The door to her bedroom had been blocked, while the window was unlocked.

Meanwhile, the following Monday morning, sheriffs in neighbouring Seminole County followed a report of a possible suicide to an apartment in Longwood, about 30 miles outside Orlando’s city centre.

There they found Caballero’s body, which had been “dead for quite some time”, apparently by his own hand.

In a news conference on Monday afternoon, Orange County sheriff John Mina said investigators had since found several “suspicious” items in his place.

‘I know you’re alive. I know you’re out there’

At the news conference, members of Ms Marcano’s family said they believed she could still be saved and urged people to report any information that might help.

“I know you’re alive. I know you’re out there,” said her aunt Pia Sarbieo Henry. “Fight, because we have your back.”

Another aunt, Semone Westmaas, said: “Keep Miya in your prayers. Don’t give up on Miya. I believe Miya is alive.” Her grandmother Violet Delville said: “Please help us find my princess.”

Family members told reporters they were frustrated with how sheriffs have handled the case, demanding more urgency from Mr Mina’s office.

Deputies searched inside and all around Arden Villas on Sunday, with neighbours saying they saw a helicopter doing “five or six” circles round the complex.

Mr Mina said: “Miya is still missing. Her disappearance is suspicious and our detectives and the family members obviously suspect foul play.”

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