Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Carla Stefaniak: Family Mourns Woman Murdered During Costa Rica Birthday Trip

Family Identifies Body Found in Costa Rica as Missing Florida Woman Carla Stefaniak Family Says Body Found In Costa Rica Is Missing Florida Woman
Pablo Mccormick | 06 December, 2018, 18:37

"Words can not express the devastation within her family and friends", her relatives said in a statement. Her family reported her missing when she didn't return home.

The owners of the building that housed the Airbnb said they have temporarily closed the facility.

Stefaniak went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in San Jose, Costa Rica with her sister-in-law April Burton.

On Tuesday, a body was found half-buried and covered in plastic in a wooded area about 1,000 feet (305 meters) from the hotel.

"Costa Rican Authorities finally allowed the family of Carla to see the body", reads a Wednesday morning message on the Finding Carla Facebook page.

On the Facebook page "Finding Carla", which has posted updates on the case, Stefaniak was described as "selfless, funny, charismatic, an unbelievable friend, an avid animal lover and a fighter".

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"Everything she did she always shared with friends and that's when we knew definitely something was up as soon as we lost contact with her", Demirel said. "May god bless her soul", the post said.

Authorities also had found stains inside the apartment where Stefaniak was staying, "which are compatible with blood and which will be submitted to further investigation and comparison", he said. Pictured above is the AirBnb rental where she was staying.

An autopsy showed multiple stab wounds to the "neck and upper extremities", as well as blunt force trauma to the head, the spokesman said.

Espinoza Martinez had been staying in the apartment next to Stefaniak's rental, the spokesman said.

Photos provided by Costa Rican authorities show officers arresting Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, a security guard who reportedly lived in the apartment right next to where Stefaniak, 36, was staying.

The Facebook page, set up to search for the missing tourist who was believed to have been kidnapped, also revealed it would not stop posting and following up on the story, which has garnered global attention. Investigators said Martinez was taken into custody because he made contradictory statements to investigators, CBS News reported.

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Martinez told Stefaniak's family that he saw her leaving the Airbnb with her luggage at about 5am on November 28 and getting into an unknown auto.

The owner of the Airbnb told relatives she was seen entering an Uber with her luggage around 5 a.m. Wednesday, but Uber records do not show a transaction.

The killing of Florida tourist Carla Stefaniak in Costa Rica was sexually motivated, according to local authorities.

Relatives became concerned last week after Stefaniak stopped texting and phoning home and was not on her return flight from Costa Rica.

Stefaniak sent her sister-in-law a text message describing it as "pretty sketchy". She said she planned to ask one of the Airbnb security guards for water.

Stefaniak opted then to stay at a hostel closer to the airport before her flight the following day, her brother, Carlos Caicedo, told WSVN. Two days later, her last Instagram picture featured her in a turquoise bathing suit, lying near a pool with tropical plants in the background.

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