(ABC NEWS) – Loved ones of Miya Marcano are demanding justice after a body believed to be the 19-year-old college student was found slain in a wooded area of Orlando. Investigators allege a maintenance man at her apartment complex is the “prime suspect” in her disappearance.
Family members are accusing the management of Arden Villas apartments where Marcano lived and worked of negligence for allowing Armando Caballero, 27, a maintenance man at the complex, to possess a master key fob that allowed him to access Marcano’s unit on the day she vanished. They claimed that several residents had complained of Caballero, who investigators said was found dead from suicide.
Marcano had told family members that Caballero made romantic advances toward her and she rebuffed him.
“You shouldn’t feel unsafe where you live,” Marcano’s cousin, Caili Sue, said during a news conference on Sunday in the parking lot of the Arden Villas apartments.
The family’s lawyer, Daryl K. Washington, said Marcano’s relatives are concerned that other residents of the apartment complex are in jeopardy due to what they describe as lapses in security.
“Death is something that is very difficult. But what makes death even more difficult is when it’s death that could have been prevented,” Washington said.
A body believed to be Marcano, a student at Valencia College in Orlando, was discovered around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday in a wooded area near the Tymber Skan apartment complex in Orlando, about 17 miles from where she lived.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said investigators were led to the area based on Caballero’s cellphone records.
Mina said the records showed Caballero was near the Tymber Skan apartments around 8 or 9 p.m. on Sept. 25, the day Marcano went missing.
He said Marcano’s purse containing her identification was found near the body. While the Orange County medical examiner has yet to positively identify the remains as those of Marcano, Mina said investigators are “very certain” it’s her.
A key fob Caballero had to access apartments was used at Marcano’s unit just before her disappearance, authorities said. Following her disappearance, Marcano’s relatives said they found her usually tidy apartment a mess and that there were signs of a struggle.
Mina said police served a search warrant on Caballero’s apartment and vehicle within 24 hours of Marcano’s family reporting her missing. Police found Caballero dead in his apartment on Sept. 27 from an apparent suicide.
Washington said tenants of the Arden Villas apartment complex that he and family members spoke to expressed concern over alleged inappropriate behavior by Caballero. But the management of the Arden Villas complex said in a statement that it had received no complaints about Caballero “from any parties involved directly or indirectly with the situation.”
“The only way he was able to get access to (Marcano’s) apartment without permission was with the key fob. There need to be changes. We’re going to make sure another young girl doesn’t have to deal with what Miya had to deal with,” Washington said. “We feel had this apartment complex taken the proper steps, this person should not have even been employed at the complex.”
In its statement, the management of Arden Villas apartments said “all employees are vetted using a national background check service” and that Cabellero had “no record of burglary or sexual assault.”
The apartment complex, according to the statement from management, plans to beef up security, including posting a guard at the front gate.
“Additionally, we have upgraded our maintenance procedures to allow for appointment-only bookings,” the statement reads. “We are in the process of reviewing our entire security apparatus and will make changes or upgrades as warranted.”