Orlando, FL – There is an intense search underway in the Orlando area for missing 19-year-old Miya Marcano, a college student who disappeared a week ago from the apartment complex where she worked and lived.
Marcano was last seen at about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Arden Villas located in the 3000-block of Arden Villas Boulevard shortly before she was supposed to head to the airport to fly home to Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend, WTVT reported.
When the student at Valencia College didn’t arrive at the airport, her family became worried.
They got in the car and headed to Orlando to find her after they couldn’t reach her on the phone, WTVT reported.
When the family arrived at Marcano’s apartment, her cousin said the usually-locked bedroom door was open, there was blood on her pillow, the room was in disarray, and a necklace she wore all the time lay broken on the floor, WPLG reported.
The cousin told reporters that there was evidence that the college student was taken out of her via her bedroom window, but law enforcement officials have not confirmed that detail.
Authorities quickly identified a person of interest in Marcano’s disappearance – 27-year-old Armando Caballero – a maintenance man at the Arden Villas complex where the 19 year old lived and worked, and who had made romantic overtures toward Marcano multiple times and been denied.
Caballero was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound on Monday morning at an apartment complex in Seminole County, WPLG reported.
“He had demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya. This was repeatedly rebuffed by Miya,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said a press conference on Sept. 27.
“We now know that a maintenance-issued master key fob which Caballero was known to be in possession of was used to enter Miya’s apartment Friday afternoon at about 4:30,” Sheriff Mina told reporters.
He said that Marcano was scheduled to finish her shift at work at the same time, WESH reported.
Other residents of the complex told WPLG that key fobs like the one Caballero used to enter Marcano’s apartment were new.
“It was just creepy and the fact that maintenance people have access to our apartments, and we just got these key fobs last month, and so if these key fobs weren’t introduced last month, no one would have known who went into her apartment,” one resident said.
A security video of Caballero walking from his car at his own apartment complex on Saturday showed he was carrying a pink blanket and other items that family members said belonged to Marcano, WFTV reported.
While authorities haven’t released many details about Marcano’s disappearance, her family has tried to be front and center in the news as they search for her, WESH reported.
“Miya was kidnapped. Miya was kidnapped out of her room at Arden Villas through her bedroom window. I’m calling on all resources, the FBI, we need you,” her aunt, Semone Westmaas said.
“We want Miya to be found, and whoever is involved, if there was more than Armando, we’re asking you to find them,” Westmaas said.
The aunt said she ran into Caballero on the same day the video of him with the pink blanket was filmed, WESH reported.
“He was trying to leave,” Westmaas said. “His lights was off. He said, ‘Are you looking for Miya?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I’m the maintenance guy. I heard you’re looking for me.’”
“I didn’t know who this guy was at the time,” she told WESH.
Sheriff Mina said deputies had recovered Caballero’s silver Ford Fusion but said they were looking for witnesses who may have seen him somewhere in it on Friday or over the weekend.
“We’ve already recovered that vehicle, but we want to know any circumstances where someone may have seen him in that vehicle,” he explained.
Sheriff Mina said there were about 30 deputies working on the search for the missing girl, WTVT reported.
“No bit of information is too small or too insignificant,” he said. “If someone knows of something, saw something, recognizes her face, we will take that information and you can remain anonymous, too,” Sheriff Mina said.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office divers searched the waters of Lake Monroe and appeared to focus on the area along the sea wall at the Riverwalk in Sanford, WTVT reported.
Multiple residents claimed to have reported problems with Caballero to the Arden Villas management, WPLG reported.
“I was not given enough time to put on a top and get to the door when he was already on the way in with his key fob,” Mia Ross complained.
But a spokesman for Arden Villas told WPLG they hadn’t received any complaints about Caballero.
Court records showed that Caballero was arrested in Polk County in 2013 for setting off a small explosion at Warner University in a dormitory hallway.
Marcano’s family have described the missing girl as a careful young woman, who didn’t have a driver’s license or a car, but who messaged someone whenever she got in an Uber to ask them to keep an eye on her location, a cousin told WTVT from the parking lot of an abandoned restaurant where searchers were meeting again on Wednesday morning.