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Miya Marcano is not the first woman to be killed for rejecting the unwanted advances of a man. Photo: Twitter

Take ‘no’ for an answer: 19-year-old college student murdered after rejecting maintenance worker advances

The killing of Miya Marcano in Florida has brought national scrutiny to how men are taught to deal with rejection.

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The body of Miya Marcano, the 19-year-old Florida college student who disappeared after repeatedly rejecting “advances” from a maintenance worker in her apartment complex, was found on Saturday morning, Oct. 2. 

At a press conference, Orange County Sheriff John Mina announced the discovery. 

“Our hearts are broken. Everyone wanted this outcome to be different,” Mina said. 

Marcano was last seen on Friday, Sept. 24 and was reported missing when she didn’t board a flight home to see her family. Three days later, Armando Caballero, later named the prime suspect by law enforcement officials, was found dead of an apparent suicide. 

Twenty-seven-year-old Caballero worked at the Arden Villas complex in Orlando and on multiple occasions, had made advances towards Marcano, a Valencia College sophomore who also worked at the complex as an office staff member. Mina said she “rebuffed” those advances. 

Marcano’s body was found in a wooded area at the Tymber Skan apartments in Orlando, a complex about 20 miles from the Arden Villas. 

Caballero had lived in the complex at some point, and Mina said cell phone records had placed him at the location for about 20 minutes at 8 p.m. on the night that Marcano went missing. 

Caballero allegedly used his master key fob to break into Marcano’s apartment at 4:30 that afternoon and abducted her. 

Before he took his own life, Caballero seemed to be attempting to throw the authorities off their trail, as cell phone data placed him all over Orlando and surrounding areas in the hours and days after Marcano disappeared. 

Marcano’s family has hired Daryl K. Washington, a national civil rights lawyer who has represented high-profile cases such as the 2018 Dallas police shooting of Botham Jean, to “hold those responsible accountable” in Marcano’s death.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, family members of Marcano and their attorney held a press conference, calling for justice and taking aim at the apartment complex who they believe should have protected the 19-year-old. 

“Death is something that is very difficult, but what makes death even more difficult is when it's death that could've been prevented,” Washington said. 

Twitter users, especially women and women of color, are mourning the death of Marcano with echoes of anger and frustration over these types of cases. It is already a dangerous world for women, but saying “no” can often lead to deadly consequences. 

“It’s just not safe for women in this world. There’s no reason the maintenance crew should have master keys/fobs and access to all units to come and go as they please. There really should’ve been a chain of approval,” one user wrote. 

“This story is terrifying. This is what a lot of us women go through. She rejected that man, and he was the maintenance person for her apartment building. Ended up using the Master Key to enter her apartment. This happens to women more than people hear about,” wrote Kristin, creator of Check the Vibes magazine

“Miya Marcano's disappearance is just so heartbreaking. People always think women are exaggerating when we tell them about how dangerous it is to turn men down. Praying over that family,” wrote Stephanie, a producer for The Social CTV

Unfortunately, Marcano’s case is not an isolated incident. Many women, particularly Black women, have fallen victim to men who couldn’t take no for an answer. It happens so often that there is even a term coined for the event, known as “rejection killings.” 

The tumblr account “When Women Refuse” documents stories of women and girls who have been sexually assaulted, abused or killed for rejecting a man’s advances. 

On Twitter, both men and women are calling for a shift in culture, where men are taught to handle rejection and women can say “no” to men without fear of violent retaliation. 

“Teach your sons chivalry, respect, restraint, accountability, and consequences at a young age. Too many women are being killed by men who can’t handle rejection. Also let them know that going to therapy is perfectly fine,” wrote one Twitter user. 

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