South Florida woman found dead after going missing during Costa Rica vacation

Frederick Owens
December 7, 2018

Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, 32, was arrested at around 11 p.m. Monday, several hours after a body was found near where Carla Stefaniak, 36, of South Florida, was staying.

Espinoza said all data gathered indicates the body is Stefaniak's; however, investigators are waiting to compare fingerprints from the body with Federal Bureau of Investigation records and noted dental and DNA records may be used to definitively identify the body as Stefaniak if fingerprints are not conclusive.

Investigators are also skeptical given the guard could not say if the vehicle that allegedly picked up Carla was a taxi or private.

Stefaniak vanished while celebrating her 36th birthday.

Costa Rican authorities believe a partially decomposed body found Monday is Carla Stefaniak, a 36-year-old USA citizen who was reported missing last week, said Walter Espinoza, of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department.

In a press conference on Monday Espinoza said that biological fluids consistent with blood were discovered inside the Airbnb property.

Caicedo, Stefaniak's father, arrived in Costa Rica and was working with officials in the search.

Stefaniak was last heard from on the night of November 27, after dropping off her sister-in-law at the San Jose airport earlier in the day.

That led them to search the area around the department, where the bound the body, which was covered with plastic bags.

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"Words can not express how shocking and devastating this is to her family and her friends", Antonieta wrote on Facebook.

"It was her birthday, and she loves to be on social media", Stefaniak's brother, Carlos Caicedo, told CBS News.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Stefaniak's last message to her family said: "It's pretty sketchy here", and that the power was out and it was pouring rain. The last text from Stefaniak came in around 8 p.m.

"Stefaniak dropped Burton off at the airport in San Jose on November 27 and returned their rental auto".

"Every time we travel, she always used that resource", Jaime said. But when Stefaniak never got off the plane on Wednesday, her family knew something was wrong.

"Solving this case is very important for the country, very important for the family of the victim", explained Walter Espinoza, spokesperson for Costa Rica's judicial investigation department, "and it is very important for this society in general".

The body was found around noon Monday in a wooded area of the San Jose neighborhood of San Antonio de Escazu, he said.

"'I'm just gonna go ask the guards to buy me a bottle of water.' He says that her phone died, and that's it", Burton said. "We will update everyone as soon as we know".

"Six o'clock, still haven't heard from her", Burton said. Later that night, all communication stopped. Ms Stefaniak had planned to fly back to the U.S. the following day but never arrived for her flight.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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