Miya Marcano family ‘devastated,’ believe 19-year-old’s murder was ‘100% preventable,’ lawyer says

·4 min read

Relatives of murdered Florida woman Miya Marcano, including those who had flown in following her disappearance, were meeting Sunday night to grieve and speak with their lawyer, family attorney Daryl K Washington told The Independent.

Mr Washington said a “tentative” vigil was planned after days of prayer gatherings outside of the 19-year-old’s apartment but added that the family was “devastated.”

“Just saying devastation, that would be an understatement,” he said. “This family is the best of the best.”

Through Mr Washington, they released a statement Saturday, just hours after Ms Marcano’s body was found in a wooded area about 20 minutes from her apartment. She has not been formally identified but authorities said on Saturday that they believe the body to be hers.

The family release said they believe that “more safeguards should have been in place” to prevent the “unauthorised entry into Miya’s apartment which led to her disappearance.”

“We want to stress that we believe that her disappearance and consequential death was 100% preventable and we intend to hold those responsible accountable to the full extent of the law,” the statement continued.

On Sunday, Mr Washington told The Independent the family was “concerned about other parents.

“They don’t want another family to have to deal with what they had to deal with for the past seven to eight days ... This young man should have never had access to Miya’s apartment. They want to make sure, going forward, that apartment complexes that are housing young ladies - especially college students - that they go out and they spend the money and they do the extensive background checks to make sure that there’s not a predator,” he said.

Ms Marcano, who studied at Valencia College in Orlando after moving to the city from Pembroke Pines, north of Miami, had been missing since 24 September. The body was discovered in a wooded area near the “Tymber Skan on the Lake” Condominiums in Orlando at around 10.45am on Saturday.

Armando Caballero, 27, was identified as the main suspect in her disappearance. He was found dead on Monday in what appeared to be a suicide.

Caballero was a maintenance worker at the Arden Villa apartments where Ms Marcano both lived and worked in the leasing office.

Before his death, law enforcement had obtained a warrant for his arrest.

Police used his cell phone records to track his movements on the day that Ms Marcano went missing.

“That data put him all over – Orange County, Seminole County, Volusia County,” Orange County John Mina said. “Again, the reason we were so intense and focused on the New Smyrna Beach area was because he spent the longest amount of time there. He was there for an hour in a marshy wooded area.

Caballero was “trying to throw authorities off the trail”, Sheriff Mina said, but said the 60 detectives on the case will be able to “piece together pretty good what happened”.

Caballero had previously lived at the Tymber Skan apartments, police said.

Ms Marcano was reported missing on 24 September after she missed a flight to Fort Lauderdale to visit family and stopped replying to texts and calls from relatives and friends.

Police said a centralised access key fob belonging to the maintenance team was used to enter Ms Marcano’s home before her disappearance.

Caballero would have had access to the key fob, police said. His body was found at the Camden Club Apartments in an Orlando suburb.

Phone records showed that Caballero had been close to the Tymber Skan apartments between 8pm and 9pm on the day that Ms Marcano disappeared.

Authorities said that Caballero had shown a romantic interest in Ms Marcano, but that he had been rejected.

“We are not looking for any other people. We believe, pretty conclusively, that Armando Caballero is responsible for this crime and there’s not any other person or persons that we are looking for in this case,” Sheriff Mina said.

“This is not the update I wanted to give everyone. Our hearts are broken.”

Sheriff Mina added that a purse was found alongside the body that held the student’s ID and other belongings.

“Although we are very certain of the identity, the positive identification will have to come from the medical examiner’s office. At this time we cannot confirm a cause of death,” he said.

Mr Washington told The Independent on Sunday that no funeral plans had yet been made while they were awaiting the release of the body.

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