Relatives of a missing Florida woman whose remains were found over the weekend say they feel devastated by the loss and are outraged the alleged killer chose the “cowardly exit” by committing suicide, the Sun reports.
A lawyer for the family also said they intended to seek justice and “hold those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
Police discovered the body of Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old student at Valencia College, around 10:45 a.m. Saturday in Seminole County, Fla., Near Orlando.
The remains were located 17 miles from a building where she lived and worked.
A medical examiner has not officially confirmed the identity of the remains, but Orange County Sheriff John W. Mina told reporters at a press conference that it is “very certain” that they belong to Marcano.
Mina said Marcano’s ID card was found near the body, Mina said at the press conference.
In an interview with The Sun, Marcano’s cousin Caili Sue said the family hoped for the best possible outcome.
“We are devastated. We are angry and we know our lives have now been changed forever, ”Sue told The Sun. “Everyone has been very dark since the announcement.”
The family, from Fort Lauderdale, remain in Orlando until the autopsy results are available. A funeral is planned in South Florida after the body is released.
“We’re not leaving without Miya,” Sue told the newspaper. “We will get justice for her once things calm down and we bring her home.”
Marcano was last seen on September 24 at her apartment complex, where she worked at the rental desk. She had planned to travel to Fort Lauderdale for a family visit that evening, but she never got on a plane.
A search of her apartment revealed signs of an uphill struggle, including a boarded up bedroom door, messy items and blood on her pillow.
Investigators say Armando Manuel Caballero, a 27-year-old maintenance worker working in the same building, is the prime suspect in the case.
Caballero reportedly expressed a romantic interest in Marcano, which she declined.
Police believe Caballero used a master key to enter Marcano’s apartment around 4:30 p.m. last Friday without her knowledge or consent, half an hour before she finished work and the last time she was she was seen.
The next morning, security cameras recorded Caballero removing gloves, a blanket and a backpack from his vehicle before entering the building.
Caballero was later found dead of an apparent suicide on Monday, hanged in a garage in another apartment complex where he lived in Seminole County. Sue told The Sun that Caballero had been “obsessed and infatuated” with Marcano and would “constantly” text him, even if she tried to make it clear that she wasn’t interested.
Sue also said her aunt, Semone Westmaas, met Caballero on the morning of September 25 as the family awaited the arrival of police.
“He was trying to leave. His lights were out, ”Westmaas told The Sun. “He said, ‘Are you looking for Miya?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said: ‘I’m the maintenance manager. I heard you were looking for me. I didn’t know who this guy was at the time.
Family members felt the conversation was strange as they had yet to reveal that Marcano was missing. Marcano’s father then asked Caballero if he had been in contact with his daughter; Caballero seemed “pretty nervous,” according to the Sun.
In an interview with police, Caballero allegedly claimed he last saw Marcano around 3 p.m. Friday. Police later learned that Caballero had entered Marcano’s apartment and issued an arrest warrant for him for burglary.
Caballero may have a history of violence against women. A woman who lives in the apartment complex where Caballero also resided believes he threw a dumbbell through her window after she refused to go out with him. The police were not able to relate him sufficiently to the incident, so he was not arrested, according to WKMG-TV.
Sue told the newspaper the family believe Caballero took the “cowardly exit” by committing suicide. “We are angry because he left us with many questions, questions that may go unanswered forever as there may be things that only he was present. And only he will ever know.
“I feel really angry and frustrated because I felt like we got him and then he was gone,” Sue told The Sun.
Meanwhile, Marcano’s family and friends held a vigil on Saturday night outside her apartment building to remember and honor her.
“She was only 19 years old. She had the rest of her life ahead of her, ”Sue said at the vigil, according to The Sun. “I can’t even express in words how we feel as a family right now. I feel defeated. I feel like I failed with my cousin and I don’t know how I’m going to get out of it.
Marcano’s grandmother, Violet Deville, told Orlando Sentinel: “It was tragic, it was horrible, it is not something we were looking forward to. Even though some of us had it in mind, we still had hopes of finding her alive.
Daryl K. Washington, Family Lawyer, released a statement on Saturday night to WOFL-TV that the family intends to seek justice for Marcano.
“We want to stress that we believe his disappearance and subsequent death were 100% preventable and we intend to hold those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” the statement said, according to the television station.
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[Featured Photo: Miya Marcano/Facebook]