ORLANDO, Fla. — Friends, family, and total strangers gathered Tuesday for a local college student who’s been missing for days now.
They say they’re just trying to do everything they can to get the community involved in helping to bring Miya Marcano home.
Dozens of people gathered at her apartment complex, lighting candles and saying prayers, hoping for good news.
“This is a different kind of hurt,” Marcano’s Aunt Semone Westmaas said. “It’s a hollow feeling that can’t be filled until Miya comes home.”
Marcano was reported missing Friday. The crowd gathered outside her apartment complex where she was last seen, pleading for Marcano’s safe return.
“I don’t believe Miya is dead. Bring her home,” Westmaas said.
Marcano’s family says they’re desperate after spending multiple days searching for any clues as to her whereabouts.
They drove to Central Florida from Fort Lauderdale Friday after she missed a flight to visit them.
“We are not leaving Orlando until we leave with Miya,” Westmaas said.
Authorities and volunteers have been searching the woods around the apartment complex where maintenance worker Armando Caballero was found dead from an apparent suicide. Caballero has been identified by authorities as a person of interest in Marcano’s disappearance.
Marcano’s relatives said they actually saw Caballero outside the Arden Villas Apartment Complex when they arrived in Orlando around 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
“I mean it was all suspicious from the beginning,” Westmaas said. “He asked me, ‘are you looking for Miya?’ The vibe was off, and at that point, everything just started escalating and just moving forward.”
Now, they know Caballero is accused of using his key fob to break into Miya’s Marcano’s apartment.
Deputies haven’t given any other updates on their investigation.
In a statement released Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Arden Villas Apartments said Caballero was vetted through a national background check services provider before he was hired, revealing no records of burglary or sexual assault in his past.
The statement goes on to describe enhanced security measures they’re enacting including a guard at their front gate, and new maintenance procedures to allow for appointment-only booking.