Family: Person of interest’s cell phone pinged near New Smyrna after Miya Marcano went missing


*The related video above is Orange Co. Sheriff John Mina providing an update Thursday, Sept. 30 on the disappearance of 19-year-old Miya Marcano*

(WESH) – As the search for 19-year-old Miya Marcano enters its sixth day, family members have revealed more of what is believed to have happened to her.

Residents received a letter from Arden Villas telling them that law enforcement would be entering their storage units and garages Thursday as they continue their investigation.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigators were seen Wednesday making their way through the apartment complex.

Arden Villas is the complex where Miya Marcano works and lives. It’s also where Armando Caballero, 27, the person of interest in this case, worked as a maintenance man before he was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide.

Family members told our NBC affiliate WESH 2 Thursday that Caballero’s cell phone pinged at some point after her disappearance near New Smyrna, adding a new area for law enforcement to search.

Marcano’s family believes she is alive and have revealed the evidence in her room shows she was taken out a window, not through the front door.

“Miya was kidnapped. Miya was kidnapped out of her room at Arden Villas through her bedroom window. I’m calling on all resources, the FBI, we need you,” Miya’s aunt, Semone Westmaas said. “We want Miya to be found, and whoever is involved, if there was more than Armando, we’re asking you to find them.”

Thursday afternoon, the FBI informed Rep. Darren Soto that it was getting involved with the search.

Last Miya was seen

Miya Marcano was last seen leaving work around 4:30 p.m. on Friday according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. She worked at Arden Villas and also lived there. Her family said she had a flight booked on Friday night to Fort Lauderdale, but she never made it onto the plane.

Caballero was determined to be a person of interest after Marcano was declared missing. His vehicle was found near the scene of his death and has been taken in for evidence.

Authorities said Caballero had been a maintenance man at the complex since June. Orange County Sheriff John Mina said Caballero expressed a romantic interest in Marcano which was repeatedly denied by the teenager.

Marcano’s father said he spoke to his daughter Friday afternoon, but didn’t hear from her when she got off work.

Mina said a maintenance-issued master key fob, which Caballero was known to have, was used to enter Marcano’s apartment about 30 minutes before she was set to finish her shift at 4:30 p.m.

Miya Marcano’s aunt, Semone Westmaas, said she ran into Armando Caballero on Saturday. That is the same day that cellphone video was shot that appears to show him in an apartment complex parking lot. It was two days before he apparently killed himself.

“He was trying to leave. His lights was off. He said, ‘Are you looking for Miya?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I’m the maintenance guy. I heard you’re looking for me,’” said Westmaas. “I didn’t know who this guy was at the time.”

Forensics expert gives perspective on case

Dr. David Thomas is a professor of forensic studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, a senior research fellow for the National Police Foundation and a retired law enforcement officer.

He says the meticulous work happening at this stage of the case can take time.

“You really have to learn about the victim’s life, and it’s called victimology,” he said. “You really do a study of this person to find out their entire background, what their ties are, the things they’ve been involved in.”

“Literally going into her residence and tearing it apart with a fine-tooth comb, is you’re looking for any shreds of evidence, any clues or ideas and you want to eliminate any possibilities,” Thomas said. “The suspect, you’re looking for information, things that are going to tie you to her.”

He says in the case of someone missing, technology now plays a big role.

“Our cellphones, as we pass a house, it registers in that house,” Thomas said. “To narrow down that one number it usually it takes about a month to get that digital footprint and know exactly where that phone has been.”

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