THE "prime suspect" in the disappearance of college sophomore Miya Marcano is alleged to have told Miya's aunt he was the one authorities were looking for just before he was found dead on Monday.
Armando Manuel Caballero, the main suspect in the disappearance and possible death of Valencia College sophomore Marcano, apparently told Marcano's aunt he was the one she was looking for – well before they told people Marcano was missing.
Marcano was last seen at the apartment complex at 5PM, where she lives and works, and where her family had gathered when they encountered Caballero.
"He was trying to leave, his lights were off," Marcano's aunt Semone Westmaas recalled of the bizarre interaction as the family waited for police to arrive outside of the Arden Villas complex in Orlando, Florida.
"He said, 'Are you looking for Miya?'" Westmaas recalled. "I said 'Who are you?'"
"He said 'I'm the maintenance guy. I heard you're looking for me,'" Westmaas recounted.
The conversation left Westmaas confused, saying "I didn't know who this guy was at the time."
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Miya's cousin, Caili Sue, said her family found the encounter "weird" because they hadn't begun publicizing that the 19-year-old Miya was missing.
Marlon Marcano, Miya's father, then approached Caballero to see if he had been in contact with his daughter.
That's when Caili said Caballero, a 27-year-old maintenance employee at the complex, became skittish and seemed "quite nervous."
Caballero's "weird" encounter comes just days before he was found to have taken his own life on Monday, with chilling 911 calls revealing the moment his body was found.
Sue said Caballero was "obsessed" and "infatuated" with the teen, and was "constantly texting her" – despite Miya making clear she wasn't romantically interested in him.
Now, a disturbing call to police dispatch has revealed how his lifeless body was found hanging in a maintenance garage at an apartment complex by an unnamed woman who told cops: "We found a suicide on property."
She can be heard telling police the address and that the body was in one of their garages where they "store paint" and said she believed the man – later identified as Caballero – was deceased.
"He is dead, right?" she can be heard asking another person before the police tell her they will see them shortly and the call ends.
The call comes as it was revealed that Caballero had a master key that was used to enter Miya's apartment at 4.30pm local time on Friday, around 30 minutes before she finished work and was last seen.
According to police, he had repeatedly expressed "romantic interest" in Miya prior to her disappearance and was routinely rebuffed by the teen before what her family describe as his "cowardly suicide."
"A couple of her friends reached out to me as we were on our way to Orlando to find her. They mentioned there was a male maintenance worker at her building that had been making her feel uncomfortable," Caili said.
Read our Miya Marcano live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Miya never shared any of Caballero's messages with her cousin directly nor spoke of any acts of behavior that made her feel uncomfortable.
"But she did share some with the two friends who reached out to me, and they've shared them with the police," she said.
Miya's family has been tirelessly searching for her around the clock for the last six days but they're yet to yield any concrete leads. They first arrived at Miya's Orlando apartment block early Saturday morning.
CABALLERO A 'COWARD'
Caili said the family is enraged by Caballero's suicide, accusing him of taking the "cowardly way out."
"We are angry because he's left us with some many questions, questions that may go forever unanswered because there may be things that only he was only present and only he'll ever know.
"I just feel really angry and frustrated because I felt like we had him and then he was gone."
But the family has not given up hope of finding Miya alive, Caili said.
"We're still very hopeful and determined to find Miya," she said. "We know we're going to find her and that she's going to be okay."
Caballero answered a series of questions from police, claiming to them he'd last seen Miya at 3pm on Friday, before leaving.
Later the same morning, he was captured on video camera getting out from his car at a different apartment building, carrying a pink blanket, gloves, and a black backpack.
Caballero was named as a key person of interest in Miya's disappearance on Monday hours after he was found dead from a suspected suicide in his apartment in Seminole County.
On Thursday, Orange County Sheriff John Mina publicly declared him the "prime suspect" in the case.
“At this time we don’t believe there was another person involved,” Mina said, adding that 60 detectives are currently working "exclusively" on the case.
'SIGNS OF A STRUGGLE'
Miya had been scheduled to catch a flight from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale on Friday evening to visit her family but never boarded the plane.
During a subsequent search of her apartment, authorities found that someone had blocked the door to her bedroom.
Meanwhile, the window in the bedroom was unlocked, the room was in disarray, and a bloodstain was found on her pillow.
Her father previously said the state of her bedroom indicated there had been a "struggle" inside.
Caili told The Sun that she believes Miya was abducted and is currently being held captive somewhere nearby.
"She's alive, but I think it's possible that she could be tied up or something like that.
She's alive, but I think it's possible that she could be tied up or something like that.
"But I know that she knows we're nearby and out looking for her. I feel like she can probably feel our presence in the area."
Caili also said that she believes Caballero's alleged abduction of Miya was premeditated but "poorly planned."
Speaking directly to Miya, Caili said: "We're coming for you, and if you could send us a sign or anything, or if you hear us in the area, you need to make as much noise as possible.
"Because we're listening and we're here in large numbers, searching for her everywhere – high, low, and in the bushes. Just keep fighting and know that we're here to get you."
On Thursday, deputies in Orange County ramped up their search efforts around the complex where Miya was last seen.
Residents were notified that officers will be entering all garages and storage units on the property in search of clues for the missing teen.
Police were also able to get two pings from Caballerro's phone at some point after Miya disappeared: one in New Smyrna Beach and one at Lake Monroe.
A dive team was dispatched to Lake Monroe on Thursday while Caili and a group of other family members handed out flyers in New Smyrna.
The family has called on the FBI to come in and assist with the investigation.
PLEADING FOR ANSWERS
Her father has pleaded for answers on social media, writing: "'Mimi, my heart is aching. I haven’t slept or eaten in days. Where are you baby???' he wrote on his social media page.
"I’m slowly losing my mind over here. Never have we ever gone so long without even a text message to each other," he added, before vowing to find her and urging his daughter not to "lose faith."
Miya was last seen wearing a red shirt, jeans, and a black hoodie, according to the apartment complex where she also worked.
She is described as being five feet tall and weighing 130 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is being asked to call at 407-836-4357.
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