The body of a 19-year-old student believed to be Mia Marcano, who was reported missing last month, was found in Orlando, Florida, officials said.
Marcano has been missing since September 24, when he was last seen wearing a red shirt and jeans at the Arden Villas apartment complex in Orlando, where he works and lives. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
Investigators found Marcano’s body on Saturday in the woods near the Timberscan apartment in Orlando, officials said. It was about 20 miles from the apartment where he lived.
“Our hearts are broken,” John W. Mina of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Saturday.
“The entire Valencian community is saddened to lose one of us,” said a statement from student Marcano Valencia College.
The sheriff said authorities had not yet determined the cause of death. “We are very confident in our identity, but a positive identity has to come from forensic medicine,” he said.
Officials said Armand Manuel Caballero, 27, was “interested” in Marcano’s disappearance. Caballero, a conservative at the Arden Villas apartment, had a romantic interest in Marcano but he “repeatedly refused,” Sheriff Mina told a news conference Thursday.
Caballero initially told investigators that Marcano was last seen at 3pm on the day he was last seen.
According to the sheriff, investigators said the maintenance keychain, which was known to belong to Mr. Caberoro, used to enter Mr. Marcano last Friday afternoon. He received an arrest warrant.
On September 27, police found Caballero dead in a suspected suicide at Camden Club Apartments on the outskirts of Orlando. The sheriff’s office later identified him as the prime suspect in his disappearance.
According to cell phone records, Caballero was near the Timberscan apartment where Marcano’s body was found the night he was reported missing.
“He was there for about 20 minutes,” Sheriff Mina said. “There are no records showing him going back there before he killed himself.”
More than 60 detectives are working on this case. The search spanned three districts and included 175 people, helicopters and a team of divers. The FBI announced Friday that it is supporting the case at the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Mina said authorities were “quite firm” in believing Caballero was responsible, adding that he would not be looking for anyone in connection with the case.
“As a society, as a sheriff, as a father, we are clearly saddened by the loss of Mia,” he said. “Once again, we cannot imagine the pain and suffering that Mia’s parents, family, relatives and friends went through, and even our entire community.”
Marcano’s father, Marlon Marcano, said on Instagram that his heart was broken on Saturday morning. “I have to be perfect again,” he said.
Marcano’s disappearance follows the disappearance of a white woman, Gabriel Petty, who was reported missing last month, and the widespread case is that tens of thousands of women and girls are reported missing. Many are asking new questions about blacks, Latinos, and indigenous peoples. Every year I go unnoticed.