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

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

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

She thought she was heading to a paradise vacation in Costa Rica, a safe place to ring in her 36th birthday. We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla, ' the tribute post read.

A body found in Costa Rica has been identified as a Florida woman who went missing while she was on vacation, according to her family.

Authorities found the decomposed bodyaround noon Monday in a wooded area of San Antonio de Escazu, Espinoza said.

Authorities have detained a 32-year-old security guard named Bismark Espinosa Martinez in connection with her death, said Walter Espinoza, director general of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department.

Her family said it didn't make sense because her flight wasn't until the afternoon and the airport was only 30 minutes away from where she was staying.

The police said Martinez, a Nicaraguan immigrant, worked at the complex despite lacking the proper documents to be in Costa Rica. Stefaniak was in Apartment No. 8.

Investigators said blood was found in the AirBnb where Stefaniak had been staying when she vanished last week.

She also suffered a blow to the head.

"Carla's father confirmed that the body belongs to Carla".

"This is a complex, hard case, and we're doing all that we can within our ability to solve the case", Espinoza said at a news conference.

"Crime is increasing in Costa Rica and US citizens are frequent victims", according to the US Embassy website. Stefaniak reserved an Airbnb about 10 miles (16 kilometres) from the airport in San Jose for her final night in the country.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the OIJ confirmed that remains were found. That prompted her family to raise the alarm with Costa Rican authorities.

The body was badly decomposed, making it hard to identify.

'Words can not express the devastation within her family and friends.

"We are really really hoping it [is not her]", said Hallandale Beach resident Laura Jaime, Stefaniak's best friend and former roommate.

"We will make sure this case is not closed like many others in Costa Rica", said a post on a Facebook page that has been updated by a family friend.

Police said they haven't been able to find some of Stefaniak's belongings, including her luggage. Stefaniak never made that flight.

After Burton left to return home early for a family obligation, Stefaniak opted to stay in Costa Rica.

Her last Instagram photo was November 25.

"I just had a weird feeling even before I got to the airport", Jaime said. I started sending her birthday messages and no one had heard from her at all. She Facetimed a friend in NY, telling him she was going to ask the security guard to buy her a bottle of water.

Another friend emailed the owner of the Airbnb.

"It's too much for us", her father, Carlos Stefaniak, told ABC Action News in Tampa from Costa Rica.

In an interview with Fox 13 Tampa Bay, Burton said that Stefaniak had texted on the day she disappeared, saying that the Airbnb was "pretty sketchy".

That same night, she was Facetiming with a friend in NY when the call dropped about 9 p.m. But even before she got to the airport, something seemed off - why hadn't she heard from her friend all day? "He thought the phone died or the reception was bad". She said it was raining and the power was going out.

Susannah Bryan can be reached at or.

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