Miya Marcano funeral: Thousands pack Florida church to mourn student killed by coworker
Family members of Marcano gathered at Cooper City Church of God in Florida for the service and urged the public not to forget their slain daughter
Thousands of mourners packed a Florida church to celebrate the life of Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old college student who was found murdered near her apartment complex. Police believe the attack was carried out by her coworker, whose sexual advances she had rebuffed.
Well-wishers of Marcano placed a crown on her coffin during the service held at Cooper City Church of God in Florida, where family members urged the public not to forget their slain daughter. According to the Daily Mail, family and friends of the teenager came down from Trinidad, the Virgin Islands, and across the US to mourn her demise. Her uncle Marc Marcano drew comparisons to the case of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who died by strangulation in Wyoming during a cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie, 23.
"We ask respectfully and expect that the media keep Miya's name and story out there," Marc said. "Although we sympathize with the Petito family, Miya's story is no different and deserves the same attention. My niece did not deserve this, nor does any woman for that matter," he added.
The royal blue casket carrying Miya had a painting of her emblazoned with her name. Family members also wore royal blue and decorated the church with the same color, said to be the 19-year-old's favorite. They remembered her as "magnetic" and a "vibrant butterfly" as they shared stories of her life at the service.
Miya's cousin D'Mani Scarbriel recalled cutting her pigtails when they were small. "Every since we were children, our bond was always unbreakable. it was always you and I," she said. "I remember the time when we were small and we were playing barbershop and I cut off your two pigtails." Meanwhile, her uncle Marvin Marcano added, "Baby girl, princess, uncle loves you and I know you're here with me. And I know one day I'll get to hear you say it back to me too."
As reported by the New York Post, the lively service featured performances from some of Miya's favorite artists, including Caribbean singer Skinny Fabulous -- who wrote a song in her memory -- and Nigerian singer Lyrikal.
Miya's body was found on October 2 in Orlando, Florida, more than a week after she was reported missing and just days after the coworker who is believed to have attacked her was found dead in his apartment on September 27. 27-year-old Armando Caballero is said to have made sexual advances toward the Valencia College sophomore, who did not respond to them.
The tragic teenager's family held a candlelight vigil outside her apartment after a body was found. Miya's grandmother Violet Delville admitted that it wasn't the outcome she had prayed for, but noted that the discovery gave them some sort of closure. "Miya, we found you. It’s not what we really wanted but I want you to know that we will always love you and we will continue to keep you in our hearts and we’ll never forget what you meant to us," she said at the service while surrounded by candles, flowers, and photos of her beloved granddaughter. "Wherever you are, remember that we always love you and we will never, ever forget you," Violet added.
A few hundred people prayed, wept and raised lights in front of Miya Marcano's apartment in Arden Villas on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 in Orlando, Fla. during a candlelight vigil for the missing 19-year-old. Friday marked a week since Marcano was last seen. Shot for @orlandosentinel. https://t.co/5H3RjK1C0Z pic.twitter.com/cMfiD2B58L— Chasity Maynard (@chasitymaynard0) October 2, 2021
"We are devastated. We are angry and we know our lives have now been changed forever," Miya's cousin Caili Sue told The Sun. "Everyone has been very somber since the announcement," she explained. According to NBC Miami, Miya's parents did not attend the final vigil.