Murder by Maintenance – the Story of Miya Marcano

Miya Marcano was a 19 year old woman from Orlando FL who went missing on Friday September 24 at around 5pm at the Arden Villa Apartments.  Miya lived in the complex and also worked at the leasing office there.  

Miya had been due to fly to Fort Lauderdale on Friday night but she never made the flight.  When her family went to her apartment to check on her, they found signs of a struggle.

According to WFLA, a cousin of Miya’s said they found her room in “disarray” with jewelry on the floor and the bed unmade.

Family members have also said that blood was also found in the area.

Miya’s phone went dead on the day she disappeared.  “Obviously her family raised this level of alarm and concern knowing Miya would never not be in contact with them, would never turn off her phone and never let her phone battery drain completely down,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at a press conference earlier this week.  

Miya’s family frantically tried to find her.  They made many social media posts over the weekend, trying to raise awareness of her case.  Miya’s aunt Semone Westmaas went to the complex on Saturday.  She had a weird encounter with the complex maintenance man, Armando Caballero.

“He was trying to leave. His lights was off. 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,’” said Westmaas. “I didn’t know who this guy was at the time.”

Investigators discovered that a maintenance-issued master key fob was used to enter Miya’s apartment about 30 minutes before she was set to finish her shift at 4:30 p.m on the Friday.  The fob had been issued to Armando Caballero, the maintenance man.

Armando had apparently expressed a romantic interest towards Miya, but she had brushed it off in the past and told him she was not interested.

On Monday, police in Seminole County, FL got a 911 call about a reported suicide.

This info is from Law and Crime:

“We found a suicide on property,” said a woman, whose name was redacted from audio. “Someone hung themselves from a garage.”

The caller said this garage was used to store paint.

According to the incident report, maintenance crew members said they discovered Armando dead. The garage was usually left unlocked, but not this time.

“When they arrived this morning to let the paint crew access to the supplies, they found the door to be locked,” deputies wrote. “They then drilled the [lock], which is common practice when they don’t have a key, and upon opening the door they saw the deceased.”

A deputy wrote about seeing Caballero “partially suspended” from the garage railings from a red band. The 27-year-old’s feet were about an inch off of the ground. He was wearing a gray shirt and black gym shorts. Caballero was in the early stages of decomposing, a deputy wrote. Blood pooled from his ears and mouth, and he was in the early process of rigor mortis, with stiff joints.

“The maintenance employees advised that the last time the garage was entered by any of their staff was Friday evening,” a deputy wrote. “Therefore, Mr. Caballero entered the garage at some point after the evening of September 24th 2021, but prior to the morning of today, September 27th, 2021.”

As Miya’s aunt ran into Armando on the Saturday and there is footage of him from that day online, it seems that he killed himself at some point from Saturday afternoon onwards.

The search for Miya went around the clock after she went missing.  Divers searched bodies of water and other officials searched wooded areas.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina stated at the time that the office was deploying “all resources” to find out what happened to Miya.

He said hundreds had been working “around the clock.” A of 60 detectives were working exclusively on the case. 30 searches over three counties were conducted after Miya disappeared.

On September 30, the FBI joined the search for Miya.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also assisted with specially trained canines that can locate electronics, specifically cell phones. 

Residents at Miya’s apartment complex received a letter from Arden Villas telling them that law enforcement would be entering their storage units and garages.

Family members told WESH 2 that Armando’s cellphone pinged at some point after Miya’s disappearance near New Smyrna, adding a new area for law enforcement to search.  I had a quick look and that is around 1 – 1.5 hours drive from Miya’s apartment.

The family also said that evidence in Miya’s room shows she was taken out through a window and not the front door.  

Her family held out hope that Miya was alive: “I know you’re alive,” said her aunt Pia Scarbriel Henry at a press conference. “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.”

On Saturday, October 2, Miya’s remains were recovered. Her body was found near the Tymber Skan on the Lake apartment complex in Orlando. Her purse with her identification was recovered near the body, leading police to believe this was Miya, even before an official ID had been conducted.

Authorities spoke to the media on Tuesday, October 5 and confirmed that the remains were Miya.

“A positive identification of a female whose body was recovered in a wooded area on October 2, 2021 has been identified as Miya Marcano,” Orange and Osceola Counties Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany said in a statement.”This case is currently under active law enforcement investigation and any further requests for information, including cause and manner of death, will be deferred to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.”

Armand’s cell phone records show that he was “in or near” the apartments for about 20 minutes between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the night that Miya went missing. It is believed that Armando used to live at the complex where Miya was found.

On October 6, it was revealed that Miya was bound with black duct tape across her mouth, with tape also binding her hands and feet together, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said. Mina also said officials think Armando was waiting for Miya inside her apartment on September 24.

Miya was found wearing jeans and a bra, as well as a robe, Mina said, and her purse was found nearby containing the shirt she was last seen wearing. Her cause of death has not yet been determined, but Mina said there is no indication she was sexually assaulted before her death.

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