A corpse found near an apartment complex in central Florida on Saturday is believed to belong to missing 19-year-old Miya Marcano.
“Obviously this is not the update that I wanted to give everyone,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at the beginning of a press conference Saturday afternoon. “Our hearts are broken. Hundreds of Orange County Sheriff’s personnel were committed to this case and working very hard. Everyone wanted this outcome to be different.”
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the human remains were tentatively identified as the missing woman based on the strength of cellular phone data that placed her presumed and recently-deceased killer, Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, at the apartment complex in question on the night of her disappearance.
“Cell phone records showed us that Caballero was in or near the Tymber Skan apartments on Friday evening between eight and nine’o’clock — that’s the evening that she was reported missing,” Mina said. “And he was there for about 20 minutes. Nothing in the records indicate that he ever returned there prior to killing himself.”
Mina went on to say his office was “very certain” about the identification of the dead body and that Marcano’s family had been notified. However, he stressed that a formal identification had to be made by the medical examiner’s office. Police are not speculating on the cause of death.
The teen’s body was discovered by police around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday in what Mina termed a “wooded area” near the apartments.
Based on cell phone data, members of the emergency response crew were doing a walk-though of the area, the sheriff said, when they found the body and “a purse with Miya’s identification” near the body.
Mina confirmed in response to a question from a reporter that Caballero previously lived at the apartments where the body was found. The sheriff also said that investigators are currently still searching for “at least two cell phones and keys” that are related to the case.
Marcano disappeared on Sept. 24.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Marcano was last seen alive at the Arden Villas apartments — where she lived and worked — around 5:00 p.m. that day. Caballero was also a worker at that apartment complex and had reportedly (and repeatedly) expressed an unrequited romantic interest in his alleged victim. Police quickly marked the man as a person of interest and obtained a burglary warrant against him because he illegally entered her apartment with a master key fob around 4:30 p.m. on the day she disappeared. Caballero, however, hanged himself to death before that warrant could ever be executed.
Authorities say the case is now effectively closed.
“We are not looking for any other people,” Mina said in response to a question about the possibility of the suspect having an accomplice in the young woman’s murder. “We believe pretty conclusively that Armando Caballero is responsible for this crime. And there is not any other person or persons that we are looking for in this case.”
The sheriff went on to say that he believed his office would be able to provide specific details about “exactly what happened” when Marcano was killed based on the “pretty good timeline” of the case that’s been established so far — but he cautioned that it might take awhile.
“Their hope and resolve was nothing short of amazing,” Mina said of Marcano’s family in response to another question. “Our heart goes out to them. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. We’re all fathers here. And mothers. We’re going to grieve with them.”
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report.
[images via Orange County Sheriff’s Office]
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