ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Two deputies who worked in the investigation of 19-year-old Miya Marcano’s disappearance before her death last year were found to have violated department policies, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Reports show responding Deputy Samir Paulino did not follow proper procedure when he went to investigate Marcano’s apartment after her family reported her missing.
Paulino said he performed a wellbeing check on Marcano at the Arden Villas apartment complex, though he couldn’t find Marcano there, records indicate.
Reports of Paulino’s testimony reveal the deputy found Marcano’s bed was not made and her teddy bear was in her closet, which Marcano’s family said she never leaves home without.
According to investigators, Paulino failed to report certain details to his supervisor, Corporal Kenneth Dale, such as blood being found on a pillow in Marcano’s room or jewelry being found broken and bent on the floor.
Due to these errors, investigators said Dale identified Marcano as a “voluntary missing person” instead of a “missing endangered person” and thus failed to notify detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division.
“Few things are more excruciating for a family than when a loved one goes missing and is murdered. In the case of Miya Marcano’s disappearance, managers in the responding deputy’s chain of command recognized a lack of urgency on his part, and asked that his role – and the role of his Corporal - in the first hours of that incident be investigated by our Professional Standards division,” Sheriff John Mina said. “That deputy was sustained for Unsatisfactory Performance, and the discipline was harsh. As a result of this incident, we are in the process of making changes to policy that will direct first-responding patrol deputies to immediately notify their supervisors, and the Missing Persons Unit, in any case in which someone is considered a Missing Endangered Person.”
The sheriff’s office said Paulino has received a 150-hour unpaid suspension as discipline. Dale was also found for violating department policies, and received a 10-hour unpaid suspension as discipline.
Attorney Daryl K. Washington, who represents the family of Marcano, released a statement in response to the findings.
A bill aimed at increasing physical safety for renters was signed into law in June to honor Marcano.