Search continues for missing college student in Florida

Author: Associated Press
This photo provided by Orange County Sheriff’s Office shows Miya Marcano in Orlando, Fla. A crowd of more than 50 prayed on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 evening for the safe return of Miya Marcano. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says she disappeared Friday shortly after 27-year-old maintenance worker Armando Caballero was seen letting himself into her apartment with a master key. (Orange County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Family and friends of a missing 19-year-old Florida woman gathered for a prayer service after a fruitless days-long search in Central Florida, where a maintenance man at her complex was seen letting himself into her apartment with a master key just before she disappeared.

A crowd of more than 50 prayed Tuesday evening for the safe return of Miya Marcano, a Valencia College student who vanished Friday just before she was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale to visit her family, authorities said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that they’d found the body of Armando Caballero, a 27-year-old maintenance worker at the Arden Villas apartments where Marcano lived and worked. He had earlier been named a “person of interest” in the case. Sheriff John Mina described Caballero’s death as a suicide.

Family members have assisted law enforcement officers, searching through the woods near the apartment complex where Caballero was found and calling out her name as others knocked on doors and handed out flyers with her photo and information. The sheriff’s office says Marcano is Black, with green eyes and is 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall.

One of her uncles, Marc Marcano, told the Orlando Sentinel that he’s been searching for her since Friday, sleeping in vehicles with his family near her apartment complex. He asked those searching for his niece to look closely for any signs of her.

“Think about if you were kidnapped, what would you want to do?” he said. “If you’re handcuffed or tied to something in a room, you’re not going to be right next to the window, so you gotta listen for the faintest sounds. Say her name. Knock on the door and say her name.”

The sheriff said Monday that Caballero had expressed a romantic interest in Marcano but was “repeatedly rebuffed” by her. Mina also said that Caballero had inappropriately entered Marcano’s unit with a master key just minutes before she was last seen at the complex.

Marcano’s family found signs of a struggle and blood on Miya’s pillow when they entered the apartment, her aunt Semone Westmass told WPTV.

The sheriff said deputies had talked to Caballero Friday evening, but did not consider him a suspect or person of interest at that time. A warrant had been issued for Caballero’s arrest on a burglary charge before he was found dead on Monday, Mina said.

Arden Villa released a statement saying “all potential employees are vetted through a national background check services provider,” and no records of burglary or sexual assault were found involving Caballero. Rumors to the contrary appear to be based on online documents referencing someone else with the same name, the statement said.

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