ORLANDO, FLA. (WSVN) - It has been almost a week since Miya Marcano was last seen, and family members and authorities continue to search for her.
On Thursday, family members of the 19-year-old continued to work with volunteers and authorities in searching a large area in Orlando.
“We still have not given up hope,” said the victim’s cousin Caili Sue. “I truly believe that my cousin is alive. I believe it in my heart. We go based off of our gut senses, and none of us have had that feeling that she is no longer with us.”
Marcano was last seen Friday, Sept. 24 at the Arden Villas apartment complex where she lives and works. She has not been seen or heard from since Friday.
“Wherever she traveled, wherever she went, she always had teddy,” grandmother Violet Delville said. “Then, when they went into her apartment and saw the teddy was there, we knew something definitely was wrong.”
“We’ll do anything, we just want her to come home in one piece, just come home,” said Marcano’s aunt, Anne Marie Sue.
Orange County deputies could be seen searching a wooded area and lake near her complex on Thursday. Officials said more than 60 detectives are working Marcano’s case with the FBI providing technical support.
“We want to help and aid if nothing else, in that closure, that comfort,” said volunteer Paulean Luksza. “If we can find her, great, but we want to try and do our best, and that’s all we can tell them is that we’re here to help.”
“Some of us are knee-deep in water looking for anything that we could find,” Sue said. “Any type of additional evidence can be very helpful. She was taken by someone, and people need to know that.”
“We’re just going in circles,” Marcano’s aunt Semone Westmaas said. “I’m tired of seeing the helicopters in the same location, and nothing is coming out of it.”
On Monday, 27-year-old Armando Caballero, a maintenance man at Marcano’s complex, was found dead in a garage at another complex 35 minutes away.
According to investigators, Caballero harassed Marcano, wanting a relationship with her. They also considered him a person of interest after investigators discovered he used a master key to get into Marcano’s apartment around the time she disappeared.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said cellphone video captured Caballero holding, what Marcano’s family said, was the 19-year-old’s blanket. It was handed over to detectives almost immediately.
“That video led us to be able to do a search warrant on Caballero’s apartment and vehicle when we found it,” Mina said. “We believe that the suspect that we had named, Armando Caballero, is responsible. We don’t know all the circumstances involved in what happened there.”
Mina said he could not confirm the family’s claims that Marcano was kidnapped from her apartment through a rear window.
Another search area has been established in New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, where Caballero’s cellphone last pinged, according to the family.
“We have faith in Miya, that Miya is still fighting,” cousin Adriana Sue said. “That she is waiting for us to come to her, for us to find her.”
Deputies said authorities will return to the New Smyrna Beach area Friday morning.
Marcano’s family said they are not collecting money at the moment, so any fundraisers seen online are not real.
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