Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Body found in Costa Rica thought to be missing Florida woman

Carlos Caicedo the father of missing Carla Stefaniak arrived in Costa Rica Monday night to verify if the body found on Monday is his daughter Carlos Caicedo the father of missing Carla Stefaniak arrived in Costa Rica Monday night to verify if the body found on Monday is his daughter
Ellis Copeland | 07 December, 2018, 14:15

According to relatives, Stefaniak was celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica.

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.

The Airbnb owners, Uber driver and local security guards have all told authorities the same story: they saw Stefaniak leave the vacation home around 5:00 a.m. on November 28 with her luggage.

Stefaniak missed her flight out of the country the next day, prompting alarm from friends and family who flew to Costa Rica to assist with the search.

Costa Rican authorities have discovered a body near the area where US resident Carla Stefaniak disappeared last week. Martinez, who was in the room next to where Stefaniak was staying, gave contradictory statements to police when he was questioned, Espinoza said.

Stefaniak missed her flight home November 28, one day after she was last seen in a villa in San Antonio de Escazu outside the capital of San Jose.

The night before she flew out, Stefaniak texted Burton about heavy rain and a power outage in the area, noting that the property where she was staying was "sketchy".

Stefaniak as supposed to come home Thursday, but she never made it to the plane. Her body, covered in plastic bags, was discovered Monday about 300 yards from the Airbnb where she stayed.

Carla Stefaniak went missing on November 28. Authorities have yet to confirm if the body of the femaly found in Escazu is the disappeared tourist
Carla Stefaniak went missing on November 28. Authorities have yet to confirm if the body of the femaly found in Escazu is the disappeared tourist

"None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story because it really doesn't make sense", Burton told Tampa's Fox 13 News.

Before the news broke, Stefaniak's family and friends held out hope she was still alive.

On Tuesday Costa Rican officials arrested 32-year-old Bismark Espinosa Martinez, a guard at the Villa Buena Vista resort near San Jose, Costa Rica. "We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla".

Investigators earlier said the body was found buried in a mountainous area barely 200ft (60 metres) from Ms Stefaniak's Airbnb accommodation.

He lived in the same Airbnb where Stefaniak was staying.

Investigators performed an autopsy Tuesday, and plan to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to match fingerprints to formally confirm the body belongs to Stefaniak.

"At midnight Eastern time, Burton texted Stefaniak to wish her a happy birthday but did not receive a response", Gardner said. We're going on six days not hearing from her.

In a Spanish-language press conference later that day, Judicial Investigation Department General Director Walter Espinoza said his team is still working to match the body's fingerprints to Stefaniak's, but said "everything indicates that it is the victim". She dropped off her sister-in-law at the airport the day of the 27th, then headed to her room in Escazu, where she would spend the night before leaving in the morning for the mid-day flight on Wednesday. Ms Stefaniak had planned to fly back to the United States the following day but never arrived for her flight.

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