Miya Marcano's family 'crushed' by student's 'preventable death' as lawyer says 'predator had free access'

THE lawyer for Miya Marcano's devastated family says they've been left "completely crushed" after remains found in a wooded area over the weekend were confirmed to belong to the missing teen.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, their attorney Daryl K. Washington said: "Obviously the family is still very hurt and crushed by the news of Miya’s death. Miya was the glue that held the entire family together.

"What makes this so very difficult to accept is that Miya's death was totally preventable. That’s what makes it very hard. She was a vibrant young lady trying to pursue her dreams," he said.

Miya, 19, vanished on September 24 at the Arden Villas apartments in Orlando, where she lived and worked in the building's leasing office.

The prime suspect in her disappearance, the complex's 27-year-old maintenance man Armando Manuel Caballero, was found dead from a suspected suicide just three days later.

Police, along with a cohort of Miya's family members, tirelessly searched for the teen for seven days before her body was found in a wooded area near the Tymber Skan apartments in Seminole County on Saturday morning.

The Orange County Medical Examiner confirmed the remains belonged to Miya in a statement on Tuesday.

"A positive identification of a female whose body was recovered in a wooded area on October 2, 2021 has been identified as Miya Marcano," Dr. Joshua Stephany said.

"This case is currently under active law enforcement investigation and any further requests for information, including cause and manner of death, will be deferred to the Orange County Sheriff's Office."


Washington said the family still has "so many questions" about Miya's final moments of life that they "still want answers for."

"Their whole lives have been stripped away from them, following Miya's death," Washington said.

"Right now the family is grieving, they’re making funeral arrangements for their 19-year-old daughter. But we just have to make sure – and the family has said this – that what happened to Miya does not happen to any other girl, so that no other parent has to ever be in that kind of fear."

Washington placed the blame for failing to prevent Miya's death on Arden Villas for allowing a "predator to have free access to their apartments."

Read our Miya Marcano live blog for the very latest news and updates…

The lawyer also pointed a partial finger of blame at local police for allegedly not taking the teen's disappearance seriously enough in the hours after she first vanished.

"There are still so many unanswered questions," he said. "Obviously the lead suspect is deceased but there were so many questions that could have been answered had he been detained when there was an opportunity to do so. 

"That person was right in the presence of the family and a sheriff’s deputy – he was right there. We do believe that had it been taken more seriously, we could have had the answers much sooner."

He continued: "Families know their children. If they tell police they’re missing, I think it needs to be taken very seriously.

"In these cases evet second matters. And many of our questions could have been answered if the case was taken seriously earlier."


Washington's remarks came in reference to an encounter Miya's aunt shared with Caballero just hours after she was last seen.

Standing outside of the apartment complex in the early hours of September 25, Semone Westmaas says she was approached by Caballero who said: "I heard you're looking for Miya."

When she asked him who he was, he is said to have responded: "I’m the maintenance guy. I heard you’re looking for me."

Miya's cousin Caili Sue told The Sun in an exclusive interview that the family thought the encounter was strange because they hadn't yet publicized that Miya was missing.

The teen's father, Marlon Marcano, then approached Caballero and asked if he had been in contact with his daughter.

Caili said Caballero was acting skittish and seemed "quite nervous".

He answered a series of questions from police, claiming to them he had last seen Miya at 3pm on Friday, before leaving.

Police later issued a warrant for his arrest on a burglary charge after discovering he'd entered Miya's apartment by using a master key around 30 minutes before she was last seen alive.

By the time police went to arrest him on September 27, he was found hanging from a garage at a different apartment complex in Seminole County, following an apparent suicide.


Washington also blasted what he called insufficient security measures at the Arden Villas complex that allegedly put Miya and countless other residents in danger.

The family is gathering their own evidence in addition to speaking with residents who currently live at the complex to compile a negligence case against Arden Villas.

"The family just wishes that Arden Villas would have taken the proper steps to ensure Miya's safety and all others at the apartment complex.

"We know [Arden Villas] claims they conducted a background check on [Caballero] and stated nothing came back on it.

"We find that hard to believe and we want to know what company they utilized and why they didn’t come up with any hits on the person."

He continued: "This is a loss of life that could have easily been prevented.

"I think you have young ladies all across the county going to sleep at night in fear, knowing that there are apartment complexes giving predators free access to their apartments. 

"No person should have to pay to live in fear."

After Miya's funeral, Washington said the family plans to set up a foundation in her name to "bring attention to the lack of security measures" in place at apartment complexes all over the country.


Washington also claimed that the Arden Villas still has not reached out to the family directly to offer their condolences.

"Not only was Miya a tenant, but she was also an employee," he said. "So not to reach out of the family – when you have all the contact information to offer condolences – that's just not right."

Arden Villas did release a public statement in the days after Miya's disappearance, announcing changes the company plans to implement to protect its residents.

"After a thorough review of the ongoing reporting on the situation surrounding Ms. Marcano, we would like to provide the following factual updates," the statement began.

"Regarding our hiring process, all potential employees are vetted through a national background check services provider. Concerning Mr. Caballero specifically, no records of either burglary or sexual assault were found, and rumors to the contrary appear to be based on online documents referencing someone else with the same name.

"As part of the onboarding process, all new employees undergo thorough sexual harassment deterrence training, covering aspects from recognizing what qualifies as inappropriate to how to report unwanted behavior. We take all accusations very seriously but received none from any parties involved directly or indirectly with the situation.

"To ensure nothing like this happens again at Arden Villas, we are taking numerous, proactive steps to enhance our security protocols."

The company has been contacted by The Sun to provide comment on the allegations made by Washington.


As the Marcano family struggles to process Miya's death, her cousin Caili said they're also feeling "helpless" as they wait for her body to be released.

"I think everyone is still in shock," Caili said. "We are kind of lost waiting for them to release her body.

"We feel helpless while we sit here waiting."

She said the family will start planning funeral services in South Florida once her body has been released to them.

"We are not leaving without Miya," she added. "We will get justice for her once things die down and we bring her home."


Miya was last seen alive at around 5pm on September 24 as she left work in the Arden Villas leasing office and returned to her apartment.

She had been due to fly to Fort Lauderdale to visit her family that night but never boarded the plane.

A subsequent search of her apartment showed signs of a violent struggle: the door to her bedroom was barricaded, the room was in a state of disarray and there was a bloodstain on Miya's pillow.

According to police, Caballero had repeatedly expressed "romantic interest" in Miya prior to her disappearance – unwanted advances that were routinely rebuffed by the teen.

He was also known to be in possession of a master key that was used to enter her apartment at 4.30pm on Friday, around 30 minutes before Miya finished work and was last seen.

An investigation into Miya's death continues.

We pay for your stories!

Do you have a story for The US Sun team?

Email us at [email protected] or call 212 416 4552.

Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheSunUS and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSunUS

    Source: Read Full Article