Family Files Lawsuit Against Orange County Sheriff's Office and Deputies Over Handling of Miya Marcano's Case


Orlando, FLORIDA — The family of Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old Valencia College student tragically found dead near her Orlando apartment in 2021, has lodged a lawsuit against the Orange County sheriff’s office and two deputies, alleging negligence and civil rights violations in their handling of the case.

Marcano, who went missing on September 24, 2021, was discovered deceased on October 2, her hands and feet bound, and her mouth covered in tape. Legal action was previously taken against the apartment complex and its management partner, the Preiss Company, resulting in an out-of-court settlement last month.

The recent lawsuit contends that the sheriff’s office and the two deputies possessed enough evidence to potentially save Marcano's life or expedite her discovery. Deputy Samir Paulino, the first responder to Marcano’s apartment for a welfare check, is accused of failing to treat the scene as a potential crime scene despite "obvious warning signs."

The lawsuit maintains that Paulino neglected to report evidence indicating a possible crime during the initial welfare check, ultimately impeding a prompt investigation.

Crucial evidence, including bloodstains on a pillow and damaged jewelry, was allegedly disregarded. Additionally, Paulino is accused of neglecting to request a search of the vehicle belonging to Armando Caballero, a maintenance worker at the complex. Sheriff John Mina later stated that investigators strongly believed Caballero was linked to Marcano’s tragic demise. Caballero was found deceased from an apparent suicide on September 27, 2021.

The complaint asserts that Marcano's father lodged a complaint against Paulino for his perceived lack of urgency in handling Miya's disappearance. It further states that Paulino shared information with his supervisor, Cpl. Kenneth Dale, but crucial details about Caballero were not disseminated before their shifts ended.

The lawsuit suggests that there was a failure to properly investigate due to alleged discrimination against missing women. It contends that the sheriff’s office had a policy, practice, or custom that provided less protection to missing female victims compared to other assault victims.

The Orange County sheriff’s office declined to comment on the pending litigation, adhering to its policy.

Both deputies faced disciplinary action last year for violating department policies. Paulino received a 150-hour unpaid suspension for "unsatisfactory performance," while Dale received a 10-hour unpaid suspension.

In response to the incident, Sheriff Mina stated, "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."