Thousands Attend Funeral for Miya Marcano, as Foundation Aims to Support Families of Missing Persons

The 19-year-old's service was held in her hometown of Cooper City, Fla.

Miya Marcano
Miya Marcano. Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Office

Thousands of people came out to pay their respect for Miya Marcano, the 19-year-old college student who was found dead earlier this month after going missing.

On Thursday, the Valencia College sophomore's family held a memorial in her hometown of Cooper City, Fla.

"She was always a loving, kind-hearted person," Marcano's grandmother Violet Delville said, WESH reports. "She always wanted to help just like how her foundation is going to do the same."

More than 2,000 people attended the service, according to WESH. Many attendees came from across the U.S. and Marcano's family's home countries of Trinidad and the British Virgin Islands.

Her cousin, Caili Sue, delivered the eulogy, saying, "Miya excelled in everything she set her mind to ... From going on to win numerous pageants, cheerleading events and junior queen of the band for several years."

Marcano's casket featured a photo of her and was painted royal blue — her favorite color, WPLG reports.

Since her death, Marcano's family has started the Miya Marcano Foundation, which aims to help support families of missing persons and educate communities on ways to protect one another.

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Marcano was last seen at around 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the Arden Villas Apartments in Orlando, where she lived and worked in the leasing office. On Oct. 2, authorities discovered her remains while searching an area near the Tymber Skan on the Lake Condominiums, an apartment complex located almost 18 miles west of Marcano's home.

Detectives were led to the apartment complex by the phone records of the now-deceased prime suspect, Armando Caballero, who was found dead by suicide on Sept. 27. Records showed that Caballero, 27, was in the area for around 20 minutes between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the day Marcano disappeared.

Investigators believe Caballero — who worked maintenance at the complex where Marcano lived — had expressed a romantic interest in the college student before she vanished, but was repeatedly rebuffed.

Prior to his death, Caballero told detectives that he last saw Marcano at work around 3 p.m. on Sept. 24, according to Orange County Sheriff John Mina. Authorities believe Caballero snuck into Marcano's apartment using a maintenance-issued master key FOB before she got off work.

"There is no doubt he was waiting for her knowing she was going to be coming home from work," said Mina.

Marcano's family became concerned for the teen when she never boarded her flight to Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 24. "Her last response was at the 5 o'clock hour and that was it," her father, Marlon Marcano, previously told PEOPLE. "Her phone was off since then."

"She had an hour left for work," recalled her father, who was flying into Fort Lauderdale from Los Angeles. "I told her I loved her, and text me when she got off of work. I will still be flying. She replied back 'love you too,' and that was it."

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