Who is Miya Marcano? Inside the heartbreaking story of a Florida college student

Miya Marcano went missing on September 24, and her tragic story has now garnered national attention

Miya Marcano headshot
(Image credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office)

Miya Marcano's loved ones are sadly experiencing the same nightmare Gabby Petito's family just encountered. In the wake of the 22-year-old's murder, the media has shifted its attention towards other missing person cases. As a result, Marcano's story has received national attention.  

The 19-year-old Orlando resident and college student went missing on September 24, 2021. She was last seen in a red shirt and jeans while at the Arden Villas apartment complex, where she both lived and worked. Although Marcano's family is still awaiting results from the medical examiner, officials believe they've found her remains, though the identity is still to be confirmed and the cause of death still to be determined. 

The Orlando community and Valencia College campus, which Marcano attended, are currently in mourning over the tragedy.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Miya Marcano, a Valencia student, whose death was confirmed today by local law enforcement officials," the school wrote on Twitter. "The entire Valencia community is grieving the loss of one of our own."

*Trigger warning: Graphic details ahead*

Where was Miya Marcano found?

Authorities are believed to have discovered the young woman's body near the Tymber Skan apartments in Orlando, which is about 20 miles from her home. This is where 27-year-old Armando Caballero lived. He was a maintenance worker at the Arden Villas and repeatedly made unsuccessful romantic advances towards Marcano. He had access to a master key that he used to let himself inside Marcano's apartment the last day she was seen alive. 

Now, Caballero has died by apparent suicide, but authorities do not believe any other suspects are responsible for the 19-year-old's murder. 

"We believe pretty conclusively that Armando Caballero is responsible for this crime and there is not any other person or persons that we are looking for in this case,” Sheriff John Mina said in a press conference on Saturday, October 2. 

“When I saw the news and they said where she was, the saddest part was seeing where they left her—in a dumpster. And Miya was not garbage,” Marcano’s aunt, Gabriela Sánchez, said in a TV interview with Noticias Telemundo. “I never thought this could happen to our family, but I want to let people know that this could happen to anyone. Please take care of your girls.”

Miya Marcano race, age and background 

Marcano is a Black 19-year-old from Fort Lauderdale who was a gifted student, a family-oriented young woman, and a loyal friend, according to accounts from several of her professors via The New York Times

After the national attention Gabby Petito received, the young woman's father, Joseph Petito said, "This same type of heightened awareness should be continued for everyone, everyone and that goes for you all too."

Although Marcano has now garnered attention all over the country, sadly it might be too late. To combat these horrific cases, Petito's family has started a foundation in their daughter's honor to help others who encountered similar tragic experiences. 

"We're just hoping that through our tragedy with losing Gabby, that in the future some good can come out of it, that we can help other people that may be in a similar situation," Jim Schmidt, Petito's stepfather said.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.