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Miya Marcano’s cousin ‘truly believes’ missing woman is alive

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 10:51 AM EDT
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The family of a missing 19-year-old Florida woman said Thursday they’re holding out hope and constantly searching for any signs of where she may be.

WPTV spoke to Miya Marcano's cousin, who said she truly believes her cousin is alive.

"We are still looking for Miya, we still have not given up hope," Caili Sue said. "I truly believe that my cousin is alive. I believe it in my heart."

Marcano's family and friends gathered Tuesday evening for a prayer service after days of searching for her in Orlando. A crowd of more than 50 prayed for Marcano's safe return.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said the Valencia College student from Fort Lauderdale disappeared on Sept. 24, shortly after 27-year-old maintenance worker Armando Caballero was seen letting himself into her apartment with a master key.

Sheriff John Mina said Caballero had expressed a romantic interest in Marcano but was "repeatedly rebuffed" by her.

The woman's family said they found her apartment at the Arden Villas Apartment Complex in disarray and blood on her pillow.

"We go based off our gut senses, and none of us have had that feeling that is she no longer with us," Sue said. "And we feel that she is sending us signals."

Caballero was found dead Monday after apparently killing himself, according to authorities.

"While of course our main concern is to find Miya, we're also still looking for tips on where Armando may have been over the past few days," Sue said.

Detectives are now searching in Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties. Marcano's family is right alongside deputies during their search, passing out fliers with Marcano's picture on them.

"We keep getting these text messages sending us to these locations," said Semone Westmaas, Marcano's aunt. "These are not leads that are provided by law enforcement. These are leads provided by people just watching the news and things that they have seen."

Mina said Thursday the Orange County Sheriff's Office is "deploying all possible resources" to find Marcano, including hundreds of law enforcement officers working around-the-clock.

Family members said they'll be searching in New Smyrna Beach on Thursday after receiving information from Orange County deputies that Caballero's cell phone had pinged somewhere in that area.

The ping yields a 50-mile radius, according to Marcano's family.

In addition, deputies on Thursday will search garages and storage units around Marcano's apartment complex.

"There's no specific area that we are going into," Sue said. "We're going to some of the same places that we've already been to multiple times.

Thursday marks the sixth day of the search for Marcano.

"We're not from Orlando. We're from South Florida. We don't know this area so we have to go based off leads and tips that are provided to us," Sue said. "Miya was abducted. She was kidnapped from her room. She's not a missing person. She was taken by someone."

Family members are now pleading with the public to come forward with any information they might have.

"You may think it's insignificant, but it may be significant evidence. And we won't know until you provide it," Sue said.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call the Orange County Sheriff's Office at 407-836-4357.

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