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Police intensify search for missing Florida woman Miya Marcano after 'prime suspect' found dead by suicide

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Image source: Orange County Sheriff's Office

It has been nearly a week since 19-year-old Miya Marcano was last seen in Orlando, Florida. Police have intensified their search for the missing Florida woman, but law enforcement encountered a challenge when their "prime suspect" was found dead from an apparent suicide.

Marcano was last seen on Friday, Sept. 24, at her apartment in the Arden Villas complex in Orlando — where she lived and also worked.

Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, worked as a maintenance man at the Arden Villas apartments and has been named as the prime suspect. According to Orange County Sheriff John Mina, Caballero used a maintenance master key fob to enter Miya's apartment at 4:30 p.m. Friday, which is 30 minutes before Marcano was scheduled to leave work.

Marcano was supposed to take a flight to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last Friday night, according to her family. After Marcano never showed up at the airport on the 10:50 p.m. flight arrival, her family became gravely concerned. Marcano's father said he spoke to his daughter Friday afternoon, but didn't hear from her after that. After not being able to communicate with Miya, family members went to her apartment on Saturday morning.

When they arrived at her apartment, they found the place trashed and there was a bloody pillow.

"Just her things in her room were kind of scattered," Miya's cousin Caili Sue told WSVN-TV. "Her jewelry was on the ground."

"There was no forced entry, but Miya's bedroom window wasn't locked Miya was kidnapped," Marcano's aunt Semone Westmaas told Bay News 9.

Westmaas claims she ran into Caballero on Saturday.

"He was trying to leave. His lights was off," she stated, as reported by WFLA-TV. "He said, 'Are you looking for Miya?' I said, 'Who are you?' He said, 'I'm the maintenance guy. I heard you're looking for me.' I didn't know who this guy was at the time."

Authorities named Caballero a person of interest in the case of the missing teen. He allegedly made numerous romantic advances toward Marcano, but she rejected him every time.

Sheriff Mina said, "[Caballero] had demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya. This was repeatedly rebuffed by Miya."

On Monday, law enforcement found Caballero dead from an apparent suicide. Police said Caballero hanged himself in a garage used to store maintenance supplies at the Camden Club Apartments, another apartment complex he worked at in Longwood. Police said Caballero does not have a lengthy criminal history, but there was a burglary charge in Polk County, according to WESH.

A cellphone video reportedly taken Saturday morning is said to show Caballero at his own apartment building.

The video shows the man parking his car and walking into an apartment complex. He is allegedly carrying a blanket, which Miya's family says is hers.

"WESH 2 compared the license plate on the car in that video to the license plate of the car towed away by law enforcement Monday and they match," the outlet reported, adding that law enforcement is aware of the video.

Investigators believe that Miya is likely within a 30-mile radius of her apartment. Residents at the Arden Villas were notified that authorities may search garages and storage areas in the complex on Thursday.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office had members of its dive team search the water at Lake Monroe Wayside Park on Wednesday.

Marcano's family has been conducting their own search in the area for Miya, who is a student at Valencia College in Orlando. Following the search on Tuesday, the family held a vigil for the missing woman.

Some residents are blaming the management of the Arden Villas apartment complex for Marcano's disappearance.

On Thursday, family members told WESH that there were reports that Caballero's cellphone pinged near New Smyrna after Marcano's disappearance.

During a Thursday afternoon news conference, Sheriff Mina said his department has "deployed all possible resources" to find Marcano, including helicopters and K-9 units. He added that there have been 175 personnel involved in nearly 30 searches in three different counties. Mina also noted that 60 detectives are working "exclusively" on Marcano's missing person's case.

"I know that Miya's family and her loved ones are going through unimaginable anguish as they try and find out what happened to Miya," Mina said.

Mina believes that Caballero is the "prime suspect," and at this time didn't believe there is another suspect. Investigators have already searched Caballero's apartment and vehicle.

Marcano said that his department is working with the FBI in the investigation of the missing Florida woman.

"We are going to find Miya," Mina said.

Anyone with information can call the Orange County Sheriff's Office's non-emergency line at 407-836-4357 or 911.

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