Orange County

Orange County deputy suspended over Miya Marcano investigation

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been suspended for 150 hours after the sheriff’s office said he failed to act urgently in the case of a missing woman.

The first night Miya Marcano disappeared, the family had concerns and called the sheriff’s office about how the responding deputy handled the case, claiming he wasn’t doing enough.

The search for the 19-year-old Orange County woman began Sept. 24 just after 9 p.m. when Miya’s mother called the Orange County Sheriff’s Office asking to have a deputy check on Miya’s well-being.

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Miya’s mother told deputies Miya was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale that night, but once the plane landed in Fort Lauderdale it was learned that she never boarded the plane.

In the report, Samir Paulino, the responding deputy stated, “I attempted to make contact with Miya at her apartment and knocked on the door approximately three times with no answer.”

The deputy then goes on to say that he went around the back of the complex to see if he was able to look inside of Miya’s bedroom, but when he looked inside he “did not notice anything out of the ordinary.”

Read: Investigative report gives insight into timeline of Miya Marcano’s death

According to a report, Paulino did some checking, but left the scene and responded to other calls.

Paulino told the internal investigators when he went to the window to look inside he did not see the furniture blocking the door, but he did say he saw blood on the pillow, and he missed other clues.

Paulina said he didn’t call criminal investigators or a missing person’s detective because he said they wouldn’t come out for this, and he was still trying to gather everything.

Read: Miya Marcano case: A timeline of her disappearance

He came out a second time and the family asked him to take fingerprints, but he didn’t.

Paulino came out a third time and was told about a box cutter. He admitted in his interview that it was a “red flag.”

After the family told Paulino that there was an altercation between Armando Caballero and Marcano, he still said he had no evidence that Caballero did anything wrong. As a result, Paulino didn’t search the car; he Caballero’s identification and let him go.

Read: ‘Miya’s Law’: Bill aimed at enhancing renter protections signed into law

Caballero was found dead by Seminole County deputies inside a Longwood apartment three days later.

A week later, the body of Miya Marcano was found near the Tymber Skan by the Lake condos.

Paulino has been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office since August 2020. He was suspended for violating the unsatisfactory performance policy and received a 150-hour unpaid suspension as discipline in this case.

“Few things are more excruciating for a family than when a loved one goes missing and is murdered. In the case of Miya Marcano’s disappearance, managers in the responding deputy’s chain of command recognized a lack of urgency on his part, and asked that his role - and the role of his corporal - in the first hours of that incident be investigated by our Professional Standards division. That deputy was sustained for unsatisfactory performance and the discipline was harsh. As a result of this incident, we are in the process of making changes to policy that will direct first-responding patrol deputies to immediately notify their supervisors and the Missing Persons Unit in any case in which someone is considered a missing endangered person,” said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

Corporal Kenneth Dale who has been with the agency since August of 2014 was suspended for violating the violation of rules policy and received a 10-hour unpaid suspension as a discipline in this case.

Attorneys for Miya Marcano’s family released the following statement.

“Knowing how Deputy Paulino and other responding deputies handled this case is inexcusable and has caused Miya’s family and friends to experience additional pain. What is worse is that Sherrif Mina defended the poorly conducted investigation and applauded his deputies for doing an excellent job despite the number of failures that have now been revealed to the public,” said attorney Daryl Washington. The investigation report only confirmed what Miya’s father has said since she was discovered missing; they were not taken seriously. If the pleas of the family were taken seriously, the outcome of the case would have been much different.”

Yma Suling Scarbriel, Marcano’s mother, also released a statement.

“Honestly, I feel sick. I physically feel sick! Deputy Paulino failed Miya. The Orange County Sheriff’s office failed Miya. The Preiss Company and the owners of the Arden Villas Luxury Apartments failed Miya. We begged these deputies to help us. We begged the Property Management Company for help. Deputy Paulino allowed the person who harmed our daughter to walk free. I am heartbroken. I am simply heartbroken!” Suling Scarbriel said.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

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