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‘We are going to find Miya’: Search spreads out for Florida college student

FBI gets involved, but family growing frustrated

The family of the 19-year-old college student from Pembroke Pines is growing frustrated as her Central Florida disappearance nears a week. The FBI is assisting in the search efforts.
The family of the 19-year-old college student from Pembroke Pines is growing frustrated as her Central Florida disappearance nears a week. The FBI is assisting in the search efforts.

ORLANDO, Fla. – In its sixth day, the search for missing Florida college student Miya Marcano continued Thursday around the Orlando-area apartment complex where she was last seen.

Frustration is growing among her family and friends, but authorities say they are looking across three counties.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that more than 60 detectives are working exclusively on finding Marcano, focusing also on Seminole and Volusia counties.

“We are going to find Miya, and we are pouring a lot of resources into this case,” Mina said, adding that the FBI is assisting in the search.

Marcano, 19, is a graduate of Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines and a student at Orlando’s Valencia College. She went missing Friday, a day she was supposed to board a flight back to Fort Lauderdale.

REPLAY BELOW: ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF THURSDAY NEWS CONFERENCE

“I’m still frustrated, though, that we’ve been going on for this long,” said Caili Sue, Miya’s cousin. “Miya was abducted, she was kidnapped from her room. She’s not a missing person. She was taken by someone.”

As investigators searched at the Arden Villa apartments where Marcano lived and worked in the leasing office, volunteers have fanned out to search for her in New Smyrna Beach (about an hour northeast) and around the Longwood (Seminole County) apartment complex where Armando Caballero was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Mina said Thursday that Armando Cabellero, an Arden Villa maintenance worker, was a “prime suspect” and they believe he was responsible for Marcano’s disappearance.

Investigators say Caballero used a master key to get into her apartment before she vanished and that he made romantic advances toward Marcano that were repeatedly denied.

Residents of the Arden Villa apartments in Orange County were sent an email saying law enforcement will be entering all occupied garages and storage units throughout the day Thursday as part of the search.

The complex is near the University of Central Florida but surrounded by a heavily wooded area.

Some family members were frustrated that detectives remained focused on the Arden Villa complex where they also spent Wednesday.

While detectives are again focused on a Central Florida apartment complex where the 19-year-old college student lived and worked, volunteers have begun searching around New Smyrna Beach and Longwood where a person of interest was found dead.
While detectives are again focused on a Central Florida apartment complex where the 19-year-old college student lived and worked, volunteers have begun searching around New Smyrna Beach and Longwood where a person of interest was found dead.

Members of Miya’s family now want to speak to people who are friends and family of Caballero.

“To his family, if you know anything, you need to speak up,” Sue said. “No matter what information you know, you may think it’s so insignificant, if you texted Armando any time between last week and now, you said ‘hey’ and you saw that the message was delivered, provide that information.

“I truly believe that my cousin is alive,” she added.

Local 10 News obtained video that appears to show Cabellero before his death. Marcano’s family says the pink blanket he was holding in that video belongs to Miya.

When family members got to Marcano’s apartment on Saturday morning, they found a broken necklace on her floor, her bedroom in disarray and blood on a pillow. Marcano was known to be meticulously clean and always wore that necklace.

Vigil in South Florida

As the search continues in Central Florida, a candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Marcano’s alma mater, Flanagan High (12800 Taft Street in Pembroke Pines).

A separate vigil in Central Florida was also planned.

NOTE: The family warns the public that it is not tied to any GoFundMe or Cash App fundraisers and worries that pages on those platforms purporting to be connected to them may have been created by scammers.


About the Authors:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.