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Death of Central Florida teen raises master-key concerns. Here’s how to protect yourself

Apartment complex safety is a top concern for many residents after disturbing new details surfaced this week in the case of a Central Florida woman who was found dead in the woods a week after she disappeared from her unit.
Apartment complex safety is a top concern for many residents after disturbing new details surfaced this week in the case of a Central Florida woman who was found dead in the woods a week after she disappeared from her unit.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Apartment complex safety is a top concern for many residents after disturbing new details surfaced this week in the case of a Central Florida woman who was found dead in the woods a week after she disappeared from her unit.

The attorney for 19-year-old Miya Marcano’s family said Wednesday her body had tape around her feet, wrists and mouth. A maintenance man at her complex was named a person of interest, but he took his own life after her disappearance, leaving more questions than answers.

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Investigators said a key fob Armando Caballero had access to points to the strong possibility he entered her apartment before she got off work.

It is not clear when she was reported missing, but her father told News 6 his daughter was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale that day. Officials said a maintenance-issued master key fob, which Caballero was known to be in possession of, was used to enter her apartment around 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 — a half-hour prior to Marcano getting off of work.

Sheriff John Mina said Caballero had previously expressed a romantic interest in Marcano, but she had rejected him several times.

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“We are not looking for any other people. We believe, pretty conclusively, that Armando Caballero is responsible for this crime and there’s not any other person or persons that we are looking for in this case,” Mina said.

It raises the question: How safe are you in an apartment or condo where staff has a master key?

“I’ll leave my light on, make sure no one follows me,” said Evanne Robinson, a TV producer who works all hours of the day and night.

She said she does what she can to stay safe at her southside apartment complex.

“The locks are pretty good,” she noted. “It’s an electric lock. You can’t pick the lock.”

But she’s extra careful after learning about the story in Central Florida.

New details about Miya Marcano’s death -- Tonight at 5:30

“It’s always good to have a buddy system,” said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, who met with Robinson to go over safety advice.

He said if you live alone, have your neighbors look out for you. Tell them when you’re expecting company or maintenance and ask them to call you if someone’s there unexpectedly.

Internet surveillance cameras, some costing less than $50, can be a big help.

“There are many cameras on the market right now that you can just easily strategically place in your apartment or your home,” Jefferson said. “And you can monitor it without having to worry about whether or not someone’s in there waiting for you when you get home.”

He also said self-defense classes and carrying personal protection can help. He pointed out people can never let their guard down.

While it wouldn’t have helped in Marcano’s case, he said a chain lock or something to stop the door from opening would protect someone who is inside.

Robinson is moving to a new city soon and she’s already asking her management at her new complex about background checks on employees and security on the property, so she can be safe.


About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.