A desperate search is underway for 19-year-old Miya Marcano in Florida after she vanished from her apartment complex on Friday.
Marcano, a student at Valencia College was last seen around 5pm on September 24th at the Arden Villas apartments in Orlando, where she lives and also works in the building’s leasing office.
The young woman was supposed to board a flight later that night to visit her parents in Fort Lauderdale. But, she never made the flight and has not been seen or heard from since.
Her father Marlon Marcano has been posting photos on social media, asking for help to find his daughter and sharing that he and his family will do whatever they can to bring her home.
“I haven’t slept or eaten in days,” Marlon Marcano wrote in an Instagram post. “Your whole family is here looking for you. We will not stop until you’re back home.”
During a press conference on Monday, Orange County Sheriff, John Mina pleaded with the public for any information that could help determine what happened to Marcano after she was last seen at her apartment complex, which is about a mile away from the campus of the University of Central Florida.
“Miya is still missing, her disappearance is suspicious and our detectives and the family members obviously suspect foul play,” Mina said. “We are still doing everything possible we can to find her.”
The person of interest in Marcano’s disappearance, Arden Villas maintenance worker Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, was found dead in an apparent suicide at his apartment in neighboring Seminole County.
Investigators said that Caballero had expressed romantic interest in Marcano, but she had repeatedly rebuffed his advances. On Friday, Caballero told responding officers that he last saw Marcano around 3 p.m.
However, according to Mina he had inappropriately entered Marcano’s apartment with a “maintenance-issued master key fob”. That key was used to enter her apartment on Friday at around 4:30 p.m., about 30 minutes before her shift at the complex would have ended. An arrest warrant had been issued for Caballero for burglary related to him entering her apartment without permission, Mina said.
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The sheriff’s office currently has 30 detectives working this case full-time. “No bit of information is too small or too significant,” Mina said.
Marcano’s disappearance comes at a time when mainstream news media is facing renewed scrutiny due to the disparities in coverage when reporting on missing people of color in comparison to the widespread, national coverage usually given to missing white women. It’s what some refer to as “missing white woman syndrome.”
As an investigation into her disappearance continues, friends and family members are pleading for information about Marcano’s whereabouts and remaining hopeful that she will be found safe.
“I know you’re alive,” Marcano’s aunt Pia Scarbriel Henry said in a message directed to her missing niece at the news conference which was livestreamed on Facebook. “I know you’re out there. We love you… We miss you. We know that you’re strong. Miya, anytime something should happen, fight, because we have your back.”
On Tuesday morning, a group of Marcano’s family and friends gathered in Orlando to continue searching for the missing college student.
“I can feel your energy and I know you’re feeling mine. We’re both hurting deeply,” said Marcano’s father on Instagram. “I have a full team searching for you all over the world. Don’t give up on me! Send me a sign baby girl. I’m looking for you.”
Miya Marcano was last seen wearing a red shirt with a logo for Preiss Co., which is a student housing company, as well as jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt.Authorities said Marcano is five feet tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Miya Marcano is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 407-836-4357.