ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The family of Miya Marcano is suing Arden Villas Apartments along with its management company and the estate of Armando Caballero in the wrongful death of the 19-year-old.
Marcano lived and worked at the Orange County apartment complex, as did Caballero, the prime suspect in her disappearance and death, who was found dead from an apparent suicide days after Marcano’s disappearance.
Marcano’s family is suing for $30,000 in damages, claiming Arden Villas and its operator, the Priess Company, was negligent in protecting its residents with adequate security measures.
“The family is hoping that by pursuing this lawsuit they can get answers to numerous questions and hold those responsible for the disappearance and death of Miya fully responsible,” said their attorney, Daryl Washington, in a press release Tuesday. “The family wants to bring about changes that will prevent families from experiencing the pain and grief with which they are currently dealing.”
The lawsuit, filed in Orange County circuit court, claims that the property had a lack of surveillance cameras, and personnel and management failed to vet employees with criminal background checks and disclose any prior criminal history to residents.
“At no time was Miya Marcano made aware by the management of the Arden Villas that Caballero had a criminal background, a history of harassing women, nor was she aware that Caballero would have unsupervised and/or free access to her apartment,” the lawsuit reads.
Orange County deputies said they believe Caballero used a master key fob to enter Marcano’s apartment.
“(Arden Villas) operated below the standards by allowing this guy to have unfettered access to Miya’s apartment and not only Miya’s apartment but all of the tenants in the Arden Villas,” Washington said.
On Oct. 2, she was found dead in a wooded area with duct tape around her feet, hands and mouth, authorities said.
“Armando Caballero posed a heightened risk to residents and/or invitees at Arden Villas, including Marcano, and... he should have not been hired, not been retained, and/or not been given a key fob (or other access device) that provided unfettered access to apartments, including Marcano’s,” the lawsuit added.
The family confronted Caballero at Arden Villas Sept. 24, the night Marcano was reported missing. They said Caballero waited for her to get home from work and attacked her during a struggle, though Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the responding deputy at that time had no probable cause to detain him.
According to the lawsuit, “Marcano expressed her concerns to employees of the Arden Villas as well as to her parents who were concerned that Jessica Decker, the manager of the Arden Villas, was not taking the safety concerns of the employees and tenants very seriously.”
Washington added that things could’ve been done differently.
”There were talks with employees about the unwanted text messages, how the fact that he was making her feel uncomfortable,” he continued.
News 6 has reached out to Arden Villas and its management company for comment and have not heard back, but they have told us that all potential employees are vetted through a national background check service.
The medical examiner has not yet determined Marcano’s cause of death.
The lawsuit can be read in its entirety below.