It’s Wednesday, October 6th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - The remains found in a wooded area in central Florida have been confirmed to be the body of a missing college student who disappeared last month, authorities said Tuesday.
The body found Saturday has been identified as 19-year-old Miya Marcano, Joshua Stephany, chief medical examiner for Orange and Osceola counties, said in a statement. At a news conference Tuesday, the Marcano family's attorney, Daryl Washington, said they're now making funeral arrangements. Authorities said Marcano vanished on the same day a maintenance man improperly used a master key fob to enter her apartment. Her family reported her missing after she missed a flight home to South Florida on Sept. 24. Orange County Sheriff John Mina previously said Armando Caballero, a maintenance worker at the apartment complex where Marcano lived and worked, is considered the "prime suspect." Caballero, 27, apparently killed himself; his body was found three days after Marcano was last seen.
No. 2 - Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo's second-in-command, Deputy Chief Heather Morris, has been let go from her position.
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Sources confirmed to NBC 6 that Morris received a letter Tuesday from City Manager Art Noriega saying her job had been defunded, and her services were no longer needed. Morris - the first woman to serve as deputy police chief in the history of the department - served as Acevedo's internal affairs commander in Houston. In Acevedo’s eight-page memo to city leaders in September, he said commissioners eliminated her position in an effort to “… meddle in the affairs of the (Miami Police Department)..." Commissioner Joe Carollo told NBC 6 by phone that commissioners made the decision to do away with Morris’s position unanimously to scale back funding from five assistant chiefs to four, which Carollo says was the norm.
No. 3 - The Broward County School Board defied the state again.
Tuesday the board decided it would continue its current COVID-19 protocols, including mandatory masking and quarantines when students test positive or come into direct contact with someone who has COVID. The Florida Department of Education had already ordered all school districts, months ago, to make masks optional. Thirteen districts, including Broward and Miami-Dade, decided to ignore that order and make masks mandatory unless the student has a medical reason to opt out. A couple of weeks ago, the state issued new emergency guidelines for school districts, reiterating the policy that masks must be optional and also now saying parents can essentially opt their kids out of quarantines if their kids are asymptomatic. But Tuesday, Broward decided to continue with its own policies.
No. 4 - A slow slog of jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of the suspect in 2018's Parkland high school massacre on charges that he attacked a jail guard nine months after the shooting.
Prospective jurors were ushered into the courtroom in groups of 32 and asked basic questions about their knowledge of Nickolas Cruz, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland that left 17 dead, whether they could put that aside and their availability to serve. Those who pass this initial screening will be brought back on Oct. 18 for further questioning. About 10 people in Tuesday's first group raised a hand when Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer asked if they could not be fair to Cruz in this case, given what they know of the shooting. Several others said it would be a financial burden to serve. About 15 of that initial group will be brought back.
No. 5 - A joint operation on Miami Beach is hitting the brakes on illegal business in South Florida. At the center of the busts? Scooters and those three-wheel "slingshots."
Tourists love them, and residents hate them. But police say it's illegal for businesses to rent them in Miami Beach. And, this week, they found a spot where some of them are being stored. Police found 23 slingshots, at least 80 scooters and seven golf carts all stored at the Ocean Steps Condo Garage on 15th and Collins. Police say a makeshift repair area was also inside. In March, a driver in a slingshot hit four bicyclists on a sidewalk on the side of the McArthur Causeway. A woman was rushed to the hospital with head trauma — and the causeway was shut down for hours. Police say this week’s crackdown revealed how serious a problem slingshot rentals are. Click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Jamie Guirola you’ll see Only on 6.
No. 6 - Miami Carnival is back!
Many are traveling near and far for this year's Carnival after it was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some were picking up their Carnival costumes at a distribution center in North Miami Beach. MayInda Pointdujour, who is Haitian and Costa Rican, says playing masquerade — or better known as "playing mas," — is a big part of the Carnival culture. Officials in Trinidad canceled their Carnival for this year, and some said all those masqueraders are flocking here for Carnival this weekend. Click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Marcine Joseph.