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Authorities Believe They Discovered Remains Of Missing Florida Teen Miya Marcano Behind Abandoned Apartment Complex
“It’s been tragic, it’s been horrible, it’s not something we were looking forward for,” Miya Marcano’s grandmother said after authorities discovered what they believe to be the 19-year-old’s body.
Florida authorities believe they’ve discovered the remains of missing Florida teenager Miya Marcano behind an abandoned apartment complex, more than a week after she disappeared.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina announced the tragic news at a press conference Saturday. Although Mina said authorities were “very certain of the identity” of the body, he said official identification of the remains would be made by the medical examiner.
“As a community, as a sheriff, as a father, you know, obviously we are grieving the loss of Miya,” he said. “We can’t imagine the pain and anguish that Miya’s parents, the family, the loved ones and the friends and really our entire community have gone through and will continue to go through.”
Mina said authorities searched the Tymber Skan apartments—where the prime suspect, 27-year-old Armando Caballero, once lived—after cell phone records revealed Caballero had been at the abandoned apartment complex for about 20 minutes the same day that Marcano disappeared.
The 19-year-old was last seen around 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Arden Villas apartment complex, where she worked with Caballero, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
Detectives believe Caballero, a maintenance worker at the complex, used a master key to the complex to get into Marcano’s apartment complex on the property not long before she disappeared. Marcano had reportedly repeatedly rebuffed the 27-year-old’s advances.
On Sept. 27, Caballero was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Seminole County apartment complex, after he had been questioned by investigators about the disappearance. Authorities have labeled him the prime suspect in the slaying.
Mina said on Friday Sept. 24, just hours after Marcano disappeared, cell phone records showed him at the Tymber Skan apartments for about 20 minutes between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“Nothing in the records indicate that he ever returned there prior to killing himself,” Mina said in the press conference.
Authorities have not released a cause of death for the Valencia College student.
“It’s been tragic, it’s been horrible, it’s not something we were looking forward for,” Marcano’s grandmother Violet Deville told the local paper. “Even though some of us had it in the back of our minds, we still had hope that we would find her alive.”
More than 100 people gathered at the Arden Villas apartment complex on Saturday night for a candlelight vigil to honor the slain 19-year-old, bringing flowers and signs to show their love for Marcano.
“I miss my baby, and I wish she had come home today,” her godmother Adriana Sue said.
Many also voiced anger at the apartment complex’s property managers, The Priess Company, for failing to do more to protect the 19-year-old.
“PRIESS CO: YOU HAVE MIYA’S BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS,” one anonymous flyer read.
Other apartment units had signs tied to their balconies criticizing the complex and management company, including one that read “Arden Villas is responsible for Maya’s kidnapping!!!,” the local paper reports.
At a news conference Sunday, Marcano family attorney Daryl K. Washington slammed the property managers where both worked, saying that the family now plans to “hold those responsible accountable” for their actions.
“Death is something that is very difficult, but what makes death even more difficult is when it’s death that could’ve been prevented,” Washington said, according to local station WESH. “It’s very awful that we have a complex that did not take the proper precautions to assure that this young lady is safe.”
Shortly after authorities announced her body had been discovered, The Priess Company issued their condolences in a statement on Facebook along with a photo of Marcano smiling and wearing a company T-shirt.
“In memory of Miya Marcano, beloved daughter, friend, member of our community and an incredible part of our Arden family. The loss of Miya’s brilliant light and loving spirit is one that we will forever reverberate in those whose lives we touched,” they wrote. “We pray for peace and comfort during this time for all who knew and loved this remarkable young woman.”
The company said they plan to have grief counselors available on the property for those struggling with the loss.
Marcano’s death was not the only time Caballero had allegedly retaliated against a potential love interest.
A Seminole County Sheriff’s Office report obtained by local station WKMG revealed that in March, Caballero was accused of throwing a weight through a woman’s bedroom window after she refused to go on a date with him.
The 24-year-old woman later told authorities that a maintenance worker named Armando had written her a note asking her on a date. Although the woman had initially said she’d go on the date, she later changed her mind. Not long after, on March 17, a black weight was hurled through her bedroom window.
She told the investigators she believed Armando had been responsible for the attack. Investigators were never able to determine who had thrown the weight, but did find Caballero’s finger prints on the note asking her out.
Although Washington has argued that Caballero should not have had access to the master key fob “based on that person’s record,” Arden Villas issued a statement after Marcano’s disappearance saying that a national background check on Caballero found “no record of burglary or sexual assault,” WESH reports.
Marcano’s family plans to start a foundation in her honor.