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Person of Interest ‘Rebuffed’ by Missing Florida College Student Kills Himself

·3-min read
via Instagram/Orange County Sheriff's Office
via Instagram/Orange County Sheriff's Office

Local authorities in Orlando, Florida, said Monday that a maintenance worker they had identified as a person of interest in the disappearance of 19-year-old Miya Marcano—who has been missing since Friday—was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said that Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, a maintenance employee where Miya Marcano lived and worked, had repeatedly expressed “romantic interest” in the Valencia College sophomore—and possessed a master key that was used to gain entry into her home.

He’d been dead for “quite some time” by apparent suicide when investigators found his body at an apartment complex in Seminole County on Monday afternoon, the sheriff said.

Mina said the discovery of Caballero’s body is the latest in an ongoing search for Marcano, after she vanished Friday before she could board a flight home for the weekend. Before her disappearance, Mina said that Caballero had made unwanted romantic advances toward the teen.

“Obviously his romantic advances were rebuffed by Miya,” Mina said.

The sheriff said on Monday that investigators learned a master key Caballero was “known to be in possession of” had been used to enter her apartment at around 4:30 p.m. Friday. She was last seen around 5 p.m.

According to the sheriff, Caballero had worked as maintenance personnel since June at the Arden Villas apartments where Marcano lived and worked as an office staff member, but had been “repeatedly rebuffed,” by Marcano for his advances.

During a press conference on Monday, Mina said that Marcano’s disappearance had been flagged as “suspicious,” and that detectives have been working “all weekend long,” to identify where she went after she was last seen at about 5 p.m., on Friday, in the Arden Villas apartment complex roughly a mile from the University of Central Florida campus in Orlando.

According to the sheriff’s office, 30 detectives are still searching for the young woman, whose family is distraught over her disappearance.

UCF officials have urged members of the community on Twitter to support the search effort for Marcano.

Many of the young woman’s relatives— who made tearful appearances at the press conference—had traveled from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando to implore detectives to find Marcano after she failed to catch a flight home as planned.

“We’re not leaving here without answers,” Miya’s aunt Semone Westmaas, told reporters according to video shared by the Orlando Sentinel on Monday ahead of the press conference, which was postponed by two hours after detectives found Caballero’s body. Westmaas vowed that the family wouldn’t be leaving Orlando “until we bring Miya home.”

“Keep Miya in your prayers,” Westmaas said. “Don’t give up on Miya. I believe Miya is alive.”

Marcano’s dad, Marlon Marcano, previously told WESH that the last time he spoke with his daughter was on Friday afternoon, and that he did not hear from her at the end of her work day when she missed her flight.

Since her disappearance, Westmaas said relatives, friends and even strangers have been eager to help bring her home.

Miya’s dad has been posting photos of his daughter on his Instagram page since Friday, asking for help to find her and noting in a post Monday that his hear was “aching” for his daughter’s return.

“I haven’t slept or eaten in days,” he wrote in his latest Instagram post. “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.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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