Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Body found near Airbnb where Tampa woman missing in Costa Rica w

Body found near Airbnb where Tampa woman missing in Costa Rica w

The family of a Miami woman, who went missing in Costa Rica, is going to the morgue to view a body found near her last known location.

Costa Rica's government spokesperson Walter Espinoza said the guard was identified as 32-year-old Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, a Nicaraguan who immigrated to Costa Rica in June.

Relatives said Stefaniak was scheduled to come back to Florida the next morning, on November 27, but no one had heard from her in five days, and her family feared the worst. The woman said that "it's pretty sketchy here", Burton said.

Tracker dogs had discovered the remains partially buried in plastic bags, NBC News quoted investigating agency spokeswoman Marisel Rodríguez Solís as saying.

Investigators found blood inside of Stefaniak's room and on the property of the AirBnB she was staying at, BBC World News reports.

The man arrested for the killing had worked at the apartment complex, the station said.

"None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story because it really doesn't make sense", her sister-in-law April Burton told Fox13. The family is continuing to hold out hope that she is still alive.

"As far as we know, she came out at 5am, the security guard opened the gate". Stefaniak's brother flew to Costa Rica last Friday to search for her. Carlos Caicedo, Carla's father, had his blood drawn Tuesday to help determine whether the body belonged to his daughter.

Caicedo said Monday that he had heard that a body was found but that the Organismo de Investigación Judicial - which is investigating Stefaniak's disappearance - had not yet told his family if the body was hers.


Her brother, Mario Caicedo, told NBC News that Stefaniak checked in for her flight back to the USA on November 28 but she never boarded the flight. At this time, authorities have not been able to confirm that the body is Stefaniak.

She was scheduled to fly home at 1pm the next day, on her birthday.

Burton had previously warned that Stefaniak may have been kidnapped as an Uber driver who was scheduled to drive her to the airport said she had taken another vehicle there.

"Costa Rica is portrayed as paradise that's safe for Americans", Jaime said. Family members said she missed her flight return flight home to Florida on November 28.

The suspected murder is a nightmare for Costa Rica's tourism industry - its main source of income. I started sending her birthday messages and no-one had heard from her at all.

Jaime called Stefaniak's family, then the US Embassy in Costa Rica.

"After verification, the version of one of the security guards was incompatible and presented many contradictions", Espinoza said in Spanish. "We will update everyone as soon as we know".

The night prior to her flight, Stefaniak took an Uber ride around the town and was dropped off at her Airbnb. "She checked in for the flight, but she never got on the plane".

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