The massive search for a young South Florida woman who disappeared in Orlando last week continued Wednesday, as dozens of deputies, family members and volunteers scoured the area where she had been last seen.
Deputies with K-9s were seen early Wednesday at the Arden Villas apartments where 19-year-old Miya Marcano had disappeared. At least one family member was also seen at the complex, and deputies had a staging area across the street where volunteers were meeting to join in the search.
Tuesday night, family and friends of Marcano gathered for a prayer service and vigil following another day-long search.
"Miya, baby girl, if you can hear me. If you’re seeing me. We’re here, we’re coming, hold on. Hold on," aunt Semone Westmaas said.
On Wednesday, Westmaas said she believes Marcano was kidnapped and taken out of the window of her apartment. Authorities haven't confirmed that information.
"This is not an ordinary missing case. Miya was kidnapped. Miya was kidnapped out of her room in Arden Villas through her window," Westmaas said. "I’m calling on all resources, the FBI, we need you. We need you to look at everything. All substantial evidence provided so far. Miya was kidnapped!"
Marcano, a Valencia College student, vanished Friday just before she was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale to visit her family, authorities said.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office announced Monday that they'd found the body of Armando Caballero, a 27-year-old maintenance worker at the Arden Villas apartments where Marcano lived and worked. He had earlier been named a “person of interest" in the case. Sheriff John Mina described Caballero's death as a suicide.
The sheriff said Monday that Caballero had expressed a romantic interest in Marcano but was “repeatedly rebuffed” by her. Mina also said that Caballero had inappropriately entered Marcano’s unit with a master key just minutes before she was last seen at the complex.
The sheriff said deputies had talked to Caballero Friday evening, but did not consider him a suspect or person of interest at that time. A warrant had been issued for Caballero’s arrest on a burglary charge before he was found dead on Monday, Mina said.
Arden Villa released a statement saying “all potential employees are vetted through a national background check services provider,” and no records of burglary or sexual assault were found involving Caballero. Rumors to the contrary appear to be based on online documents referencing someone else with the same name, the statement said.
Family members have assisted law enforcement officers, searching through the woods near the apartment complex where Caballero was found and calling out her name as others knocked on doors and handed out flyers with her photo and information. The sheriff’s office says Marcano is Black, with green eyes and is 5 feet tall.
The family said they won't give up until they find Marcano.
"Somebody heard something, somebody seen something. If you seen something, you heard something, just help, right?" uncle Marc Marcano said.
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