Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, was found dead by apparent suicide on Monday morning. He was a ‘person of interest’ in the disappearance of Miya Marcano and allegedly broke into her apartment just before she vanished
Family and friends of missing Florida college student Miya Marcano have been searching the woods behind the Seminole County apartment complex where a ‘person of interest’ in the her disappearance had died by suicide on Monday and dashed their hopes of getting answers.
Marcano, 19, lives and works at the Arden Villas apartment complex in Orlando, Florida and was last seen finishing her shift there at around 5pm on Friday before she vanished and left behind signs of a violent struggle, including bloodstains on a pillow, police said.
About a half hour earlier, Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, a maintenance worker at the building, allegedly broke into her room and police were set to arrest him on suspected burglary charges when they found his body. He was also ‘infatuated’ with Marcano and she had repeatedly let him know she wasn’t interested in him, family members said.
‘He killed himself. So he was our lead to Miya and he killed himself. Miya’s still missing,’ Semone Westmaas, Marcano’s aunt, told reporters near Cabellero’s apartment during the search effort.
Miya Marcano’s family searched for her in the woods outside his apartment complex on Tuesday. Marcano’s uncle Marc was above briefing a group before they set out to search for her
Semone Westmaas, Marcano’s aunt, told reporters that Caballero’s death leaves them grasping for answers
Marcano’s cousin Caili Sue said that Caballero had an ‘infatuation’ with Marcano, which she repeatedly turned down
Westmaas was seen in footage from the Orlando Sentinel briefing members of the search party, in which she said, ‘Keep Miya in your prayers. Don’t give up on Miya. I believe that she is alive and we’re gonna find her.’
She added, ‘We have more family coming, we have friends coming, we have strangers who are driving from all over Florida who are meeting us in Orlando. They’re popping up, they’re introducing ourselves, they’re ready to start a search team. Like I said, we’re leaving here with Miya alive.’
Shortly after her disappearance, Westmaas had an unsettling encounter with Caballero outside Marcano’s apartment complex. ‘He was trying to leave, his lights were off, and he said “are you looking for Miya.” I said “who are you” and he said “I’m the maintenance guy, I heard you were looking for me. I didn’t know who this guy was at the time,” she told local news outlet WKMG News 6.
But Marcano’s cousin, Caili Sue, knew who Caballero was and that he had an intense obsession with the missing woman. ‘He was infatuated with her, he was in love with her. I don’t know the very specifics of it, but he was constantly texting her and then had left her alone and then went back to texting her again,’ she told Fox 32 Orlando.
Marc Marcano, her uncle, prepared a group to go door to door around Caballero’s apartment complex searching for his niece in the case that she was being held hostage.
Where is Miya? Authorities in Florida are searching for 19-year-old Florida college student Miya Marcano. She was last seen at her apartment complex in Orlando on Friday
Caballero also had a ‘romantic interest’ in Marcano, which she ‘repeatedly rebuffed,’ police said
Speaking to a group looking for her, he said, ‘Think about if you were kidnapped, what would you want to do? If you’re handcuffed or tied to something in a room, you’re not going to be right next to the window, so you gotta listen for the faintest sounds. Say her name. Knock on the door and say her name.’
Caballero’s body was found by police on Monday around noon, but he had been dead ‘for quite some time’ by the time they arrived, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at a press conference Monday.
Caballero’s car, a silver Ford Fusion, was found outside his apartment in Seminole County and has been taken by police as part of their investigation.
Mina added, ‘Her disappearance is suspicious and our detectives and the family members suspect foul play.’
Marcano, who attends Valencia College, was scheduled to catch a flight to Fort Lauderdale that night, but she never made it to the airport, her family said.
Detectives first interviewed Cabellero for tips as he worked in the same apartment complex as Marcano. He told police that he last saw Marcano at 3pm on Friday. However, Mina said that he had a ‘maintenance-issued master key fob,’ which was used to enter Marcano’s apartment at 4.30pm – a half hour before her shift ended and she disappeared.
Marcano’s aunt Pia spoke directly to her niece at a press conference Monday and said, ‘Miya this message is for you. I know you’re alive. I know you’re out there.’
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that Marcano’s disappearance is ‘suspicious’ and detectives ‘suspect foul play’
On making that discovery, police issued a warrant for Caballero’s arrest on suspected burglary as he was believed to have gone into her apartment without permission or reason. Mina added that police found a ‘few items’ that were ‘considered to be suspicious,’ but would not elaborate on what they were or if they included the blood-stained pillow.
Police were going to Caballero’s apartment to arrest him on Monday morning when they found his body inside the Camden Club Apartments in unincorporated Longwood, a suburb of Orlando.
‘Our detectives and deputies have been working around the clock on this case and pouring a lot of resources into finding Miya,’ Mina said. ‘We have at least 30 detectives who are working just this case to try and track down every single lead.’
Marcano’s family said it is unlike her to go a long period of time without texting or calling any of them. Nevertheless, they still have hopes that she is still alive.
Marcano’s aunt Pia spoke directly to her niece at the press conference Monday and said, ‘Miya this message is for you. I know you’re alive. I know you’re out there. We love you. You know our family is strong. You know our family is big. You know we will never sleep one night until we get you home. We miss you.’
Marcano lives at the Arden Villas apartments in Orlando and also works in the leasing office
The Arden Villas apartments posted a message about Marcano’s disappearance on its Facebook page Monday morning, writing that she had last been seen in jeans, a black hoodie and a red T-shirt with a logo for Preiss Co., a company that manages student housing, including at the Arden Villas.
‘We also ask that you continue to keep Miya’s friends and [family] in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to navigate this difficult situation,” the Facebook post read.’
When deputies searched Miya’s apartment, they found that someone had blocked the door to her bedroom, reported Fox 35.
The window in the bedroom was unlocked, and the room was disarray. A bloodstain was discovered on the missing woman’s pillow, raising concerns for Marcano’s safety.
Miya’s father, local DJ Marlon Marcano, posted on social media: ‘there were signs of struggle in her apartment — and she may be in danger.’
The sheriff’s office has not said whether Marcano’s disappearance is being treated as a criminal matter.
On Sunday, deputies scoured a wooded area near the apartment building in search for the missing woman
Deputies were said to have found signs of struggle inside Marcano’s unit, including blood on her pillow
Marcano’s loved ones on Sunday held a prayer village outside the apartment building
Neighbor Anastasia Holland described Miya to News4Jax as shy and friendly, but ‘on the quiet side.’
On Sunday, Miya’s family and friends held a prayer vigil outside her apartment building and begged for her safe return.
‘All we ask you is help us bring Miya home,’ said Joysue Thompson, Marcano’s grandmother. ‘Bring her home safe. Drop her off. Let us know where she is. We will pick her up. Just bring her home.’
Deputies on Sunday searched a wooded area near the apartment complex and also used a helicopter to look for clues from the air.
Marcano is a student at Valencia College in Orlando. She is pictured above on her 18th birthday
Marcano, pictured left with her father, Marlon, was set to fly out to Fort Lauderdale on Friday, but she never made it. Her dad wrote online ‘she may be in danger’
Marcano, pictured on the day of her high school graduation last year, is 5 feet tall and weighing 130lbs, with brown hair and green eyes
Marcano’s father on Sunday posted on his Instagram page an impassioned plea addressed directly to his daughter: ‘Mimi, my heart is aching. I haven’t slept or eaten in days. Where are you baby??? Your whole family is here looking for you. We will not stop until you’re back home. I’m slowly losing my mind over here. Never have we ever gone so long without even a text message to each other. If your able to read this message, please know that your Daddy and the entire world loves you. Please don’t lose faith. We will find you…. I love you always and forever!’
Marcano is described as 5 feet tall and weighing 130lbs, with brown hair and green eyes. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is being asked to call at 407-836-4357.