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Miya Marcano's disappearance grabs national attention, spotlighting violence against women

Miya Marcano vanished on the same day a maintenance man improperly used a master key to enter her apartment, Florida authorities said.

ORLANDO, Fla — Over the weekend, the family of a missing Florida college student, Miya Marcano, was faced with the heartbreaking news that the sheriff's office found what they believe to be the remains of the 19-year-old.

On Oct. 2, the Orange County Sheriff's Office says they found what they believed to be the remains of Miya Marcano, the teen who had been missing for just over a week.

Marcano was reported missing Sept. 24 when she was last seen working at the Ardens Villas apartment complex before 5 p.m.; the apartments she also lived in. Her family reported her missing after she missed a flight home to South Florida that evening.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina named Armando Caballero, a maintenance worker at the apartment complex where Marcano lived and worked, as a "prime suspect." However, Caballero, who was 27-years-old, apparently killed himself. His body was found three days after Marcano was last seen. 

Mina said that Marcano had repeatedly "rebuffed" romantic advances by Caballero. At the time when Marcano was reported missing, detectives spoke with Caballero at the complex but had no evidence to detain him at that time. 

It wasn't until later that detectives learned that the maintenance worker improperly used a master key fob to enter Marcano's apartment unit around 4:30 p.m. just before her shift was supposed to end at 5 p.m.

Marcano's family says they found her apartment in disarray and blood on her pillow. 

"Her disappearance is suspicious and our detectives, and the family members, obviously, suspect foul play," Sheriff Mina said during the search for the 19-year-old.   

A week and one day later, the Orange County Sheriff's Office reported that around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, remains of a body were found in the wooded area around the Tymbar Skan Apartments. Caballero reportedly lived there at some point, officials said.

In addition to remains found, there was a purse with Marcano's identification found in the area as well, the sheriff's office reported. The medical examiner has to provide a positive identification of the body found, but Mina said they are "very certain" of the identity. 

Cell phone records showed Caballero was in or near the Tymber Skan Apartments on Friday evening between 8-9 p.m., which is the evening of Sept. 24 when Marcano was reported missing. It's reported that he was there for about 20 minutes.

Mina says the sheriff's office is not looking for other possible killers because they "believe pretty conclusively" that Caballero was responsible for the crime. 

"Our hearts are broken. I told you Thursday that hundreds of Orange County Sheriff's Office personnel were committed to this case and working very hard," the sheriff said. "Everyone wanted this outcome to be different."

The apartment complex where Marcano and Caballero worked, 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.

Since Marcano's disappearance, social media users have been sharing the 19-year-old's photos calling for attention to violence against women. Her disappearance also comes on the heels of another national deadly case in that of Gabby Petito.

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According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. 

And in the U.S., about 1 in 4 women and men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact, Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence reports. 

Marcano's father, Marlon Marcano, was active on his Instagram account during the search for his daughter. After the sheriff's office reported finding a body that could possibly be that of Miya Marcano, he posted to his Instagram, "my heart is shattered." 

The entire Instagram caption reads, "Miya Yman Maeling Marcano my heart is shattered. I feel so much pain and anger inside. I know you wouldn’t want me to feel this way, but it hurts me knowing I wasn’t there when you needed me most. I understand that this is God’s plan and I shouldn’t question him, but you baby girl did not deserve this. I can’t believe you’re gone! I will never get to see that amazing smile again. I would do anything possible right now just to hear your voice again. I wish I could hold you and tell you I Love You…"