LONGWOOD, Fla. — In the search for Miya Marcano, who has been missing since Sept. 24, deputies descended in droves upon a Longwood apartment complex Tuesday.
It was there Monday that investigators found the body of Armando Manuel Caballero, a person of interest in the case.
But, members of law enforcement weren’t the only ones searching for Marcano Tuesday.
What You Need To Know
- 19-year-old Miya Marcano has been missing since around 5 p.m. Sept. 24
- Both her family and law enforcement are doing their own search for her
- MORE: Live Updates: The search for Miya Marcano
Marcano's family members conducted a search at Jay Blanchard Park in Union Park, about 10 minutes away from her apartment complex, before switching to the Longwood area.
The message for her from her family is clear: "... Miya, hold on. We're coming."
Marcano was last seen at the Arden Villas apartment complex in Orlando around 5 p.m. on Sept. 24.
Investigators believe Caballero, who had an unrequited interest in Marcano, took his own life.
Family member of #MiyaMarcano: “Put yourself in our shoes, to know what we’re feeling … Miya, hold on. We’re coming.”— Julie Gargotta (@juliegargotta) September 28, 2021
She says family is coming in from all over, by the bus loads, to search for missing woman. @MyNews13 pic.twitter.com/T9q9fvdGRS
Marcano's cousin, Caili Sue, said right before the family searched for her on Tuesday morning: "I'm determined and I'm still very hopeful we're gonna find her."
"I'm determined and I'm still very hopeful we're gonna find her," Miya Marcano's cousin Caili Sue says this morning before heading out with a search party to find the missing 19 year old. Family members organized a search of their own. @MyNews13 @RebeccaTurcoTV #MiyaMarcano pic.twitter.com/gCUTGMA4yO— Ashleigh Mills (@AshleighMNews) September 28, 2021
Mina is urging anyone who knows where Marcano is to reach out.
'It's the worst news a parent could get'
Marcano's Family and friends combed the nearby woods off Sabal Palm Drive in Longwood, not far from where Caballero lived, shouting the woman's name and enlisting the help of neighbors with dogs.
By noon, deputies arrived and corralled many out of the woods, but instead of giving up, they pivoted to knocking on doors.
Other volunteers, fliers in hand, walked for miles, canvassing surrounding neighborhoods and searching for clues.
“It’s power in numbers, you know. She’s a baby, she’s 19. She could be anybody’s daughter," said Vilma Vargas, who lives in Oviedo. "To have your daughter away from home and something like this happens, it’s the worst news a parent could get."
Vargas doesn’t know Marcano, nor the family, but she saw the news of her disappearance all over social media.
Vargas said she’s a mom and felt compelled to lend a hand in the search.
“We’re just trying to search for anything we might see that looks out of the normal," she said, pulling back dense brush along a fence line. "They said to look out for keys, phones."
By chance, Vargas linked up with two others who were out searching for Marcano as well: a relative of the woman, who did not wish to be identified, and a longtime family friend, Karl Brodie.
Brodie dropped what he was doing and drove from Apopka to Longwood, propelled by the memory of meeting Marcano when she was just 9 years old.
He works in sound and audio engineering and participates in a Caribbean carnival in South Florida. That's how he met Marcano's family more than a decade ago.
"That’s why we’re out, we want to show our support. They’re like family, and family takes care of family, right?” he said. “I’m a parent and Miya is the daughter of a friend, who we consider more like family. And had the tables turned, I would hope people would come out and do the same thing for mine. Just the right thing to do."
Anyone with information on Marcano's whereabouts is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff's Office at 407-836-4357.
HELP FIND MIYA: Miya Marcano is still missing. We suspect foul play. Person of interest Armando Caballero was found dead today. It appears he killed himself.— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) September 27, 2021
Caballero was a maintenance worker at Arden Villas, where Miya lives, works & was last seen.
Call 407-836-4357 w/ info. pic.twitter.com/fQb0JxOSUx