ORLANDO, Fla. – Police investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Miya Marcano began focusing on a wooded area where a person of interest in the case was found dead by suspected suicide.
Crime scene tape was put up, but authorities have yet to provide any update on what they may have found.
Meanwhile, Marcano’s family held a candlelight vigil Tuesday night following another day of a desperate search to find her.
The vigil was held outside Marcano’s Orlando apartment, the place that she disappeared from last week.
“Miya, baby girl, if you can hear me, if you are seeing me, we are here, we are coming. Hold on, hold on,” the woman’s aunt, Semone Westmaas, said Tuesday.
Marcano was set to fly to Fort Lauderdale Friday evening but never boarded her flight.
When her family members got to her apartment early Saturday morning, they found a broken necklace on her floor, her room in disarray and blood on a pillow.
Marcano’s cousin told reporters Tuesday that Marcano was meticulously clean and always wore the necklace that was found broken inside her bedroom.
The cousin said there was also dirt on the floor, which was unusual because Marcano never wore shoes inside of her carpeted bedroom.
Westmaas said she also had an unsettling encounter Saturday night with the person of interest in Marcano’s disappearance, Armando Caballero.
“He said, ‘Are you looking for Miya?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I’m her maintenance guy. I heard you are looking for me,’” Westmaas said.
Police said Caballero worked in maintenance at the apartment complex where Marcano also worked at. They said he made romantic advances toward Marcano that were repeatedly denied.
“He was infatuated with her, he was in love with her,” said Caili Sue, Marcano’s cousin. “I don’t know the very specifics, but he was constantly texting her.”
Local 10 News obtained video that appears to show Cabellero and his car the morning after Mercano’s disappearance. Family members said the pink blanked he’s holding in the video belongs to Marcano.
On Monday morning, maintenance workers found Caballero dead inside of a storage room at the Seminole County apartment complex where he lived.
According to a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office report, Caballero hung himself.
Detectives continue to search for any sign of Marcano. Her family says they are hopeful they will find her, but are frustrated with clues Caballero might have held.
“He killed himself. So he was our lead to Miya and he killed himself. Miya is still missing,” Westmaas said.
Marcano’s aunt said relatives knocked on several neighbors’ doors Saturday and up to five women said they too had unsettling encounters with Caballero, some of whom said they filed complaints about him.
Police told the family they had no complaints filed with them.
Local 10 News reached out to Arden Villa Apartments, where Caballero worked and Marcano lived, and received the following response:
“After a thorough review of the ongoing reporting on the situation surrounding Ms. Marcano, we would like to provide the following factual updates. Regarding our hiring process, all potential employees are vetted through a national background check services provider. Concerning Mr. Caballero specifically, no records of either burglary or sexual assault were found, and rumors to the contrary appear to be based on online documents referencing someone else with the same name. As part of the onboarding process, all new employees undergo thorough sexual harassment deterrence training, covering aspects from recognizing what qualifies as inappropriate to how to report unwanted behavior. We take all accusations very seriously but received none from any parties involved directly or indirectly with the situation.
“To ensure nothing like this happens again at Arden Villas, we are taking numerous, proactive steps to enhance our security protocols. We immediately repositioned a guard to the front gate to document all residents and guests entering and leaving the premises. Additionally, we have upgraded our maintenance procedures to allow for appointment only bookings. We are in the process of reviewing our entire security apparatus and will make changes or upgrades as warranted.”