By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Oct. 15, 2021: Some 2,000 family and friends ofCaribbean American teen, Miya Marcano, packed into the Cooper City Church of God Thursday to bid adieu to the teen known to fondly as “Princess.”
A crown rested atop a royal blue casket that was emblazoned with her picture and the words ‘Long Live Miya’ as loved ones shared memories of her.
“My niece did not deserve this, nor does any woman for that matter,” Marcano’s uncle, Marc Marcano, said during the service. “We ask and respectfully expect that the media keep Miya’s name and story out there,” he said. “Because although we sympathize with the Petito family, Miya’s story is no different and deserves the same attention.”
Her uncle recalled that “she had a laugh that would make you laugh, and she always had a nickname for everyone, myself included. I’m sure she had plenty of jokes about her bitter old crazy uncle Marc.”
“Miya’s facial expressions, body language and magnetic energy pulled people in,” her cousin, Caili Sue, said during the eulogy. “While Miya was a little shy on regular days, when it was showtime, she transformed herself into a different person. She opened up like the vibrant butterfly that she was.”
The service also included a moving video tribute, and performances by some of Marcano’s favorite artists.
Her large circle of family and friends traveled from the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and other parts of the world to say goodbye at a celebration of her life on Wednesday.
There were heart-shaped flower arrangements on stage. Tripods held large glamourous portraits. Bouquets of spring flowers surrounded a cobalt blue closed casket. A projector showed pictures of the little girl who loved music and the teenage girl who danced to every beat.
Marcano missed a Sept. 24th flight from Orlando to visit her family in South Florida, and her family asked the Sheriff’s Office to check on her at the Arden Villas apartments near UCF, where she lived and worked.
During that welfare check, the deputy found Marcano’s bedroom door was blocked from opening by a dresser, which meant a roommate had to enter Marcano’s room from a back window, the statement said, adding that a responding deputy “noticed the window had been tampered with.”
Her body was bound with black duct tape across her mouth and tape also tying her hands and feet together on October 2nd. She was found wearing jeans and a bra, as well as a robe and her purse was found nearby containing the shirt she was last seen wearing. Her cause of death has not yet been determined.
Orlando Police have said 27-year-old Armando Caballero, a maintenance employee at the Arden Villas complex where Marcano worked and lived, was waiting for her inside her apartment Sept. 24, before he killed her and dumped her body at another Orlando area apartment complex.
The funeral came nearly two weeks after Marcano’s body was found at Tymber Skan on the Lake Condominiums.
Marcano was born on April 26, 2002, in Pembroke Pines to parents Yma Scarbriel and father Marlon Marcano, known professionally as DJ Eternal Vibes in South Florida. She grew up in both South Florida and the British Virgin Islands graduated from Flanagan Senior High in 2020 and headed to the University of Central Florida, according to her cousin Cailie Sue.
After a few semesters, she transferred to Valencia college, where she was studying sports medicine.
“From early on Miya became a Jane of all trades,” Sue said. “After taking an interest in modeling, pageantry, cheerleading, dancing, horseback riding and so much more. Miya excelled in everything she set her mind to do.”
The family has announced the launch of the ‘Miya Marcano Memorial Foundation.’
“Miya is everything to her father and I, as well as so many people around the world. The creation of the Miya Marcano Memorial Foundation brings my heart so much joy during such a difficult time,” Miya’s mother Yma Scarbriel, said.
The foundation’s mission is to support, educate and provide resources to families of missing persons, while advocating for the protection of students and others in the vulnerable population.
“The ability to help other families and the opportunity to do my part to evoke change with the very systems that didn’t protect my daughter Miya gives us some comfort. Miya always said she would change the world, and we want to ensure her legacy lives on and helps as many people as possible,” Scarbriel said.
The family requests donation to the memorial foundation at http://www.miyamarcanofdn.com