Carla Stefaniak: Man held in USA tourist's death in Costa Rica


Costa Rican authorities said Tuesday that they found what appears to be the body of a missing South Florida woman who was on vacation in the Central American country to celebrate her 36th birthday and that a suspect had been detained.

Monday afternoon, police in Costa Rica said a K9 unit located a decomposing body near the Airbnb where Stefaniak was staying.

Her sister-in-law, April Burton, said she last heard from Stefaniak around 8 p.m. last Tuesday.

The last time her family heard from her was the night of November 27 when she texted her sister-in-law that the lights were going on and off. In Stefaniak wrote in her final communication to Burton that she was experiencing a power outage at the Airbnb and may have felt unsafe, writing "It's pretty sketchy here", as BBC News reported.

The body was found covered in plastic bags near an Airbnb apartment that was rented by Stefaniak, who went missing almost a week ago.

Costa Rican authorities found stains inside the apartment where Stefaniak was staying, "which are compatible with blood and which will be submitted to further investigation and comparison", Espinoza said.

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

In an interview Sunday, Stefaniak's brother, Mario Caicedo, said he believed his sister had been kidnapped or abducted. "She is very active on social media, and for her, on the day of her birthday, to never log in to any of those accounts is just insane". "We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla".

Authorities on Monday said they discovered the body near the area where Stefaniak was staying.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Carla Stefaniak's family said they are heading to the morgue view the body.

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"The autopsy was completed today and we determined the body found initially matches that of Carla Stefaniak".

Stefaniak chose to travel to Costa Rica because it's been portrayed as a paradise where nothing bad happens, according to her best friend.

Costa Rican authorities have confirmed that the body belongs to her, and her death is now being investigated as a homicide, WSVN reported on December 4.

"Words can not express the devastation within her family and friends", the Facebook post said.

She was scheduled to fly home at 1pm the next day, on her birthday. "Exercise normal precautions in Costa Rica".

Stefaniak, 36, was reported missing Nov 28 after she failed to return home from her vacation.

"I do feel guilty because I left earlier", said Burton.

"'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're going on six days not hearing from her. "Then they changed the story that it was a taxi at 5.30am". "She went there the night before and left at 5 a.m.", said Caicedo.

"He tried to Facetime her twice and he couldn't get through", Jaime said.