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Suit: Apartment Complex Didn't Take Slain Woman Seriously

Miya Marcano's family files wrongful death complaint against Arden Villas, deceased suspect
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2021 3:45 PM CDT
Updated Oct 20, 2021 7:47 AM CDT
Family: Deputy Let Man Who Killed Miya Marcano Drive Off
This photo provided by Orange County Sheriff's Office shows Miya Marcano in Orlando, Fla. Authorities say they have found the body of the missing Florida college student who disappeared a week ago.   (Orange County Sheriff's Office via AP)

(Newser) Update: The family of Miya Marcano, the 19-year-old college student who cops say was kidnapped and murdered by a maintenance man at the Florida apartment complex where she lived and worked, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. WESH 2 and the AP report the complaint was entered Monday in Orange County, naming Arden Villas apartments, parent company Preiss, and the estate of Armando Caballero, the 27-year-old suspect who took his own life days before Marcano's body was found. The suit accuses Arden Villas of negligence, claiming it didn't do enough to keep Marcano safe, including by ignoring her concerns and not doing a deep enough background check on Caballero, which may have unearthed a previous arrest. It's unclear how much money the suit is seeking. Our original story from Oct. 7 follows:

story continues below

The family of slain college student Miya Marcano says a Florida sheriff's deputy dismissed evidence that allowed the man suspected of killing her to drive away two days before he was found dead of an apparent suicide. Orange County Sheriff John Mina defended his agency's investigation into the disappearance of 19-year-old Marcano, whose body was found a week after she vanished, her arms and legs bound with black duct tape. But the Marcano family's lawyer released a cellphone video that they say shows a deputy ignoring suspicious statements by Armando Caballero, 27, hours after police believe Marcano was last heard from, reports the AP.

Investigators now believe Caballero used a master key and was waiting inside Marcano's apartment on the evening of Sept. 24. The cause of death hasn't been determined, but Mina said there was no indication of sexual assault. Marcano's family became concerned that same night that she had missed a flight home to South Florida. They reported her missing and drove to Orlando to check on her, arriving around 3am on Sept. 25, their statement said. The family's video shows Caballero, a maintenance worker at the complex where Marcano lived and worked, speaking to a deputy near Marcano's apartment at about 4am as her just-arrived family stands nearby. They accuse him in front of the deputy of having pursued a relationship with the woman despite her refusals, and they say they have cellphone records to prove it. He denies being a stalker.

Marcano's family questioned why Caballero was allowed to drive away. Attorney Daryl K. Washington said they still don't know whether she was alive at the time. But the sheriff said deputies didn't have probable cause to detain or arrest Caballero then. He became a prime suspect after security video showed him entering her apartment before she vanished. Caballero was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot on Sept. 27 as authorities sought his arrest. A security guard tried to lift fingerprints from Marcano's window while the family searched her apartment, they said, and then tried to give the possible fingerprints to a responding deputy, but the deputy did not take them, saying this "wasn’t a high priority case," the statement said.

(Read more Miya Marcano stories.)

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