A body believed to be Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old college student who was reported missing last month, was found in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, the authorities said.
Ms. Marcano had been missing since Sept. 24, when she was last seen in a red shirt and jeans at the Arden Villas apartment complex in Orlando, where she worked and lived, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
On Saturday, searchers found what they believed to be Ms. Marcano’s body in a wooded area near Tymber Skan apartments in Orlando, about 20 miles from the apartment complex where she lived, the authorities said.
“Our hearts are broken,” John W. Mina, the Orange County sheriff, said at a news conference on Saturday.
Valencia College, where Ms. Marcano was a student, said in a statement that “the entire Valencia community is grieving the loss of one of our own.”
We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Miya Marcano, a Valencia student, whose death was confirmed today by local law enforcement officials. The entire Valencia community is grieving the loss of one of our own.
— Valencia College (@valenciacollege) October 2, 2021
The sheriff said officials could not yet identify a cause of death. “Although we are very certain of the identity, the positive identification will have to come from the medical examiner’s office,” he said.
The authorities have said that Armando Manuel Caballero, 27, was a “person of interest” in Ms. Marcano’s disappearance. Mr. Caballero was a maintenance worker at the Arden Villas apartments and had expressed a romantic interest in Ms. Marcano but she “repeatedly rebuffed” him, Sheriff Mina said at a news conference on Thursday.
Mr. Caballero had initially told investigators that he last saw Ms. Marcano at 3 p.m. on the day she was last seen.
Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for him because a maintenance-issued master key fob, which Mr. Caballero was known to be in possession of, was used to enter Ms. Marcano’s apartment on the Friday afternoon she was last seen, the sheriff said.
On Sept. 27, officers found Mr. Caballero dead from what appeared to be suicide in the Camden Club Apartments in an Orlando suburb. The sheriff’s office then labeled him the prime suspect in her disappearance.
Cellphone records showed Mr. Caballero was near the Tymber Skan apartments — where the remains believed to be Ms. Marcano’s were found — on the night that she was reported missing.
“He was there for about 20 minutes,” Sheriff Mina said. “Nothing in the records indicate that he ever returned there prior to killing himself.”
More than 60 detectives had been working on the case. Search efforts spanned three counties and included 175 people, helicopters and dive teams. The F.B.I. announced on Friday that it was helping the sheriff’s office with the case.
Sheriff Mina said officials believed “pretty conclusively” that Mr. Caballero was responsible, adding that they would not be looking for other people in connection to the case.
“As a community, as a sheriff, as a father, obviously we are grieving the loss of Miya,” he said. “Again, we can’t imagine the pain and anguish that Miya’s parents, family and loved ones and friends — really our entire community — have gone through and will continue to go through.”
On Saturday morning, Ms. Marcano’s father, Marlon Marcano, said on Instagram that his heart was broken. “I need it to be whole again,” he said.
Ms. Marcano’s disappearance follows that of Gabrielle Petito, a white woman who was reported missing last month and whose widely publicized case raised new questions about the tens of thousands of women and girls — many of them Black, Latina or Indigenous — who are reported missing each year and go unnoticed.