Sheriff’s deputies continued to search for a missing Florida college student Monday after an apartment complex maintenance man — who authorities said she had “rebuffed” — was found dead of an apparent suicide.
The woman, Miya Marcano, 19, a sophomore at Valencia College, was last seen Friday at her home in the Arden Villas apartment complex in Orlando, about a mile from the University of Central Florida, Orange County sheriff’s deputies said.
Investigators found that the maintenance worker, Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, had access to a master key to complex units, which was used to get inside Marcano’s apartment at about 4:30 p.m ET, Sheriff John Mina told reporters.
She also worked in the leasing office of the complex and would have been off her shift by about 5 p.m., officials said.
Caballero had been described as a “person of interest” in Marcano’s disappearance, and an arrest warrant was issued alleging burglary; officials said he had let himself inside her unit.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Caballero died. When his body was found in his apartment in Seminole County, Mina said, “he had been dead for quite some time.”
Marcano’s family fears the worst.
“Miya is still missing, her disappearance is suspicious and our detectives and the family members obviously suspect foul play,” Mina said. “We are still doing everything possible to find her.”
Caballero had shown interest in Marcano, but it wasn’t mutual.
“He demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya. This was repeatedly rebuffed by Miya,” Mina said.
She had been scheduled to fly from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale on Friday night to visit her family but missed the flight and hasn’t been heard from since, loved ones told NBC affiliate WESH.
“Knowing Miya, she would never not be in contact with them, would never turn off her phone, never let her phone battery drain completely down,” Mina said.
Pia Scarbriel Henry, Marcano’s aunt, also spoke to reporters and addressed her niece directly.
“Miya, this message is for you. I know you’re alive. I know you’re out there. We love you,” she said. “You know we will not sleep one night until we get you home.”
Detectives, who have Caballero’s silver Ford Fusion, asked anyone in the area to call them if they spotted the vehicle over the weekend.
The appeal was repeated by Marcano’s grandmother Violet Delville, who said in Spanish: “We love her so much. Please help us find my princess. We love her so much. Please.”
Even though she isn’t a student at the University of Central Florida, school officials asked everyone on campus to keep an eye out for Marcano or to come forward with any information that could help investigators.
Authorities said Marcano is 5 feet tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and green eyes. She was last seen wearing a red shirt, jeans and a black hoodie, according to the apartment complex.
The sheriff’s office has 30 detectives working this case full-time, said Mina, who appealed for the public’s help.
“No bit of information is too small or too significant,” he said.
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.