Miya Marcano’s family claims deputy said case was not ‘high priority’

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — As more details emerge surrounding the disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Miya Marcano, family members are criticizing the response from law enforcement.

A barrage of new details released by the attorney for the Marcano family sparked dueling news conferences Wednesday night.

The information included details on the state of Marcano’s room, notably that a dresser was blocking her bedroom door from opening and the window appeared to have been tampered with.

Family members said the deputy then left and “the family didn’t hear back with any information about what the deputy intended to do.”

A short time later, family members confirm they ran into Armando Caballero, a maintenance man at the Arden Villas who would eventually become a suspect in Marcano’s case.

Caballero said he’s “not a stalker,” and can be heard saying, “If I’m guilty, why would I come here?”

“The family questioned Caballero and immediately knew he had something to do with their daughter’s disappearance,” the release stated. “They reported to the deputy who was now on scene that a key fob dropped out of Caballero’s lap as he got out of the car, he had Miya’s blanket and a black backpack in his car and the family caught him in several lies regarding his encounters with Miya. The recently released video shows the deputy politely allowing Caballero to get in his car and leave.”

According to the release, a security guard attempted to give deputies fingerprints he lifted from Marcano’s window but deputies laughed, refused, and said, “this isn’t a high-priority case.”

Sheriff responds to family’s criticism

Orange County Sheriff John Mina refuted the family’s criticism and defended his department’s response to Marcano’s case.

“I understand this family has been through unimaginable pain and loss,” Mina said.

Responding to a video released by the family, that shows family members questioning Caballero early the morning after Marcano was reported missing.

Mina states “there was no basis for our deputies to detain Caballero.”

“Our deputies are not permitted to detain someone based on a hunch or based on what someone else is saying,” he said. “Sadly, detaining Caballero would not have changed the fact that he left her body at the Tymber Skan apartments between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. the night before.”

Mina stated that Caballero left Marcano’s body before her family even called for a welfare check.

“Unfortunately, all these things we’re talking about, wouldn’t have prevented anything,” he said. “The person responsible for her death is Armando Caballero.”

The sheriff confirmed Marcano’s body was found with tape on her mouth and wrists. He said the teen was found with her shirt off, with jeans, a bra and robe on.

However, Mina said there is no evidence that Marcano was sexually assaulted.

Mina said he is a parent himself and he understands the desire to “place blame,” but feels that deputies acted appropriately.

‘It’s unacceptable’: Marcano family attorney hits back

Miya Marcano’s family attorney Daryl Washington responded to comments made by Orange County Sheriff John Mina regarding Miya’s investigation and why the man suspected of killing her, Armando Caballero, was never detained.

“It is unacceptable,” Washington said, referring to the recent release of video footage showing Caballero being questioned by Miya’s family and officers hours after she was reported missing. Washington refuted Sheriff Mina’s statements that there was not enough evidence to detain Caballero.

“When you see that video, it is inexcusable. There is no reason why the individual responsible for Miya’s death could have been detained and more detailed questions asked of this individual. Watching the video, the questions that the family was asking him, they basically had this guy about to say something. Imagine if you had trained professionals asking him questions.”

From management at Arden Villas apartments where Miya worked and lived, to Orange County deputies, Washington believes both parties dropped the ball at several points throughout the investigation, starting the moment she was reported missing.

“If someone would have came out at 3 o’clock in the morning and checked the key fob, we would have known immediately that that individual had been in Miya’s apartment. at that point they would have had probable cause to arrest him,” Washington said.

Dozens of students held a protest at Arden Villas Wednesday night, saying the apartment management and what happened to Marcano makes them feel unsafe.

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