A Florida college student believed to have been killed by a handyman at the apartment complex where they both worked died of homicide by undetermined means, according to an autopsy report, but her family believes precious moments were lost in an effort to find her because authorities failed to take the case seriously.
Miya Marcano, 19, was last seen at the Arden Villas apartments in Orlando on Sept. 24 before her body was found in a wooded area a week later bound with duct tape around her neck, both wrists and ankles.
She was found “nearly completely skeletonized” and in advanced decomposition, the report from the District Nine Medical Examiner’s Office in Orange County said.
“In my opinion, the manner in which she was found, with multiple restraints and her disposition in an abandoned area of an apartment complex, indicates some type of assault, but because of the lack of identifiable soft tissue injuries due to advanced decomposition, the cause of death is the result of homicide by undetermined means,” Joshua Stephanny, the chief medical examiner, wrote.
Marcano, a Valencia College student who lived and worked at the apartment complex, was found Oct. 2, days after Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, the prime suspect in her death, died of an apparent suicide. He worked as a handyman in the complex and had made unwanted advances towards Marcano, authorities said.
“He had demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said on Sept. 27. “This was repeatedly rebuffed by Miya.”
Mina said Caballero entered Marcano’s apartment unit with a maintenance-issued master key fob minutes before she was last seen.
Daryl K. Washington, attorney for the Marcano family, told Fox News that Mina’s conclusions about the case during earlier news conferences are not supported by evidence. The family believes she may have left her apartment alive.
“Why would you put duct tape on somebody’s mouth, neck, etc. if you’ve killed them inside the house?” he said. “You’re putting that on them to stop them from making noise and we know with the timeline he wasn’t at the apartments very long.”
Multiple alleged failures by the Sheriff’s Office and The Preiss Company, which operates the Arden Villas apartments and other complexes near universities across the country, resulted in Marcano not being found sooner.
“They just didn’t take it seriously,” Washington said. “Had they taken this guy and detained him and asked serious questions or had the Preiss Company just come out to the property when they were calling at 3 a.m. and look at their key fob system to determine if anybody had gone into Miya’s apartment would have been enough to detain this guy.”
In a statement released Tuesday, he said Marcano’s family still struggles with not knowing the true cause of her death.
Detectives never got a chance to question Caballero before he died. The Marcano family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Arden Villas Apartments and The Preiss Company.
Fox News has reached out to the Sheriff’s Office and The Preiss Company.