LONGWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) – A day after a person of interest in the disappearance of a 19-year-old woman was found dead, family members and loved ones have gathered near the man’s Central Florida home to launch a search for her.
Miya Marcano was last seen at the Arden Villas apartments where she lived and worked at around 5 p.m., Friday. She was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to see her parents but never boarded her flight.
On Tuesday, about 35 minutes away from the apartment complex in Longwood, family members and friends of Marcano gathered to pass out flyers and search for the missing 19-year-old.
The area in Seminole County is where 27-year-old Armando Manuel Caballero was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide.
Marcano’s loved ones could be seen searching the woods near the apartment complex where Caballero was found.
Later Tuesday evening, her family could be seen holding a vigil outside her apartment, praying for her return.
“We’re not gonna stop until we find her. It’s that simple,” said a relative.
“Miya’s room is always meticulous. I helped her to pick out the decorations for her room,” said Marcano’s cousin, Caili Sue.
Marcano’s family shared with 7News a video that showed she took of her clean room when she moved into Arden Villas, but Sue said it was not as spotless when they came on Saturday.
“Just her things in her room were kind of scattered. Her jewelry was on the ground,” Sue said.
She and other family members said they also found blood on the pillow.
Two days later, on Monday, Caballero was found dead inside a garage at another apartment complex 35 minutes away.
Investigators said he harassed Marcano, wanting a relationship.
“And that he was texting her excessively, and she had asked him to stop,” Sue said.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Caballero was a maintenance person at the Arden Villas apartment complex, where he has worked since June.
“He had demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya. This was repeatedly rebuffed by Miya. He told deputies he last saw Miya at 3 p.m. on Friday while working,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
Investigators said a maintenance-issued master key FOB, which Caballero was known to be in possession of, was used to enter Marcano’s apartment at about 4:30 p.m. Friday, about 30 minutes before she would have finished her shift at the apartment complex.
Deputies and at least one family member of Marcano were seen at the apartment complex on Wednesday morning.
Volunteer Melonie Willey took the day off from work to help search for the 19-year-old.
“She’s just been on my mind like all the time,” said Willey. “I can barely sleep, I’m checking Facebook constantly to see if they find her. I’m from the Virgin Islands so I know her family is from the islands as well so being from the Virgin Islands, we all look out for one another.”
Video obtained by 7News showed a man fitting Caballero’s description getting out of a car with a license plate matching his carrying gloves and a blanket and walking into a nearby building.
Marcano’s family said the blanket belongs to Marcano.
“It’s an empty feeling. It’s a feeling that I don’t think any of us have ever felt before. This is a different kind of hurt,” Sue said. “It’s a hollow feeling, but it can’t be filled.”
One relative of Marcano said Caballero was obsessed with her and harassed her.
“I do have hope that she’s alive simply because he was obsessed with her, so I’m hoping that he couldn’t bring himself to hurt her,” said family friend Ushana Kublal.
“Miya, baby girl, if you can hear me, if you’re seeing me, we’re here,” said Marcano’s aunt, Semone Westmaas. “We’re coming, hold on.”
“Her disappearance is suspicious, and our detectives and the family members, obviously, suspect foul play,” said Mina.
“When we went in, her bed was unmade, pillows kind of in a disarray, and she has another necklace that her dad and stepmom got for her that’s gold and has a heart charm on it. When we walked into the room, the heart charm chain was on the ground, and it was broken,” said Marcano’s cousin Caili Sue.
The apartment complex released a statement saying they have now instituted a sexual harassment policy and have increased their security. However, they said they never received any complaints from Marcano about Caballero, but they are cooperating with the investigation.
Marcano was last seen wearing a red shirt with the words “PREISS CO.” written on the front, jeans and a black hoodie.
Investigators are now asking for anyone with information on Marcano’s potential whereabouts or on Caballero to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 407-836-HELP (4357).
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