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Miya Marcano’s loved ones attend ‘Celebration of Live’ at Cooper City church

Miya Marcano was very loved. Her large circle of family and friends traveled from the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and other parts of the world to say goodbye.
Miya Marcano was very loved. Her large circle of family and friends traveled from the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and other parts of the world to say goodbye.

COOPER CITY, – Miya Marcano was very loved. Her large circle of family and friends traveled from the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and other parts of the world to say goodbye.

They met on Wednesday at the Cooper City Church of God, at 9191 Stirling Rd., to grieve together and to try to come to terms with the tragedy of a life that was cut short too soon. She had just turned 19 in April.

“They want today to be about celebrating her life, about remembering the good she brought to everyone that knew her,” Jodi Lewis, a spokesperson for Marcano’s family, said before the service.

There were heart-shaped flower arrangements on stage. Tripods held large glamourous portraits. Bouquets of spring flowers surrounded a cobalt blue closed casket. A projector showed pictures of the little girl who loved music and the teenage girl who danced to every beat.

Miya Marcano, 19, graduated from Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines.

Her mother, Yma Scarbriel, was proud when she graduated from Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines and moved to Orlando to attend Valencia College.

Marcano was living at the Arden Villas, a gated apartment complex that is about a mile away from the University of Central Florida campus. She also worked at the Arden Villas’ leasing office.

Scarbriel reported her missing on Sept. 24 and a search team found her dead on Oct. 2. It’s an unexpected tragedy that left Marcano’s great-grandmother and grandmother heartbroken. The family will return to the church in Cooper City for a funeral service on Thursday morning.

Interment will be at the Bailey Memorial Gardens, 7801 Bailey Rd., in North Lauderdale. Scarbriel is asking that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Miya Marcano Memorial Fund. To honor her memory, they want to help families of missing persons and advocate for students’ safety.

“Miya always said she would change the world, and we want to ensure her legacy lives on,” Scarbriel said in a statement.

HER DISAPPEARANCE

Her family was alarmed when Marcano didn’t board her Sept. 24 flight to Fort Lauderdale. An aunt said she quickly suspected Armando Caballero, a maintenance worker at Arden Villas who had made several unwanted romantic advances.

Detectives later found Caballero, 27, used a key fob to open her apartment door at 2:14 p.m. and at 4:34 p.m., on Sept. 24, before Marcano used her key fob to enter her apartment at 5:06 p.m.

Detectives believe Caballero drove out of the Arden Villas at 5:52 p.m., returned at 7:11 p.m., and left at 7:38 p.m. About 40 minutes later, deputies said Caballero was in the area of the dilapidated Tymber Skan on the Lake Condominiums for about 20 minutes.

Miya Marcano's mother reported her missing on Sept. 24.

MURDER AND SUICIDE

Unable to reach Marcano, Scarbriel called the police to report her missing about 9:23 p.m. A deputy responded about 10:02 p.m. to the Arden Villas to conduct a welfare check.

Shortly before 5 a.m., on Sept. 25, a deputy met with Marcano’s relatives at the Arden Villas. Police officers and Marcano’s relatives visited Caballero’s apartment in Seminole County, police said.

Detectives believe Caballero left his apartment about 3 p.m. on Sept. 25, and he sent his last text message about 9:35 p.m. Deputies found him dead by suicide about 10:34 a.m., Sept. 27.

A search team found Marcano’s lifeless body about 10:45 a.m., on Oct. 2 in a marshy wooded area in the Tymber Skan property where Caballero had been on the night of Sept. 24.

Detectives said the killer used black tape to bind her hands and feet and to cover her mouth. Deputies said her purse and identification were nearby.

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About the Authors:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.