Florida woman goes missing while vacationing in Costa Rica
07 December, 2018, 14:14 | Author: Sheila Harris
The body was wrapped in plastic bags and half-buried in a mountainous, wooded corner of the resort's property. An autopsy determined she died from head, neck and limb injuries.
Judicial Investigator Director Walter Espinoza confirmed the remains were a woman's during a press conference Monday.
Ms Stefaniak's loved ones went to Costa Rica to look for her. There, she Facetimed a friend from NY, telling him she was thirsty and was going to find a drink. Local authorities confirmed its identification on Tuesday. He told NBC News dental records as well as fingerprints are being checked before the family can enter the morgue to view the body.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, blood was found in Stefaniak's room and a security guard who works at the Airbnb is being held in custody as authorities investigate. Test results f from evidence taken from both rooms revealed trace amounts of blood, he said. He also said that the owner and guards seemed "genuine". Costa Rican officials told ABC Action News that the body, which also appeared to have stab wounds, was still awaiting forensic identification, a process in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation would assist.
The Airbnb listing for "Villa Buena Vista" has since been removed from Airbnb's website.
Stefaniak's disappearance also comes weeks after Costa Rica's Tourism Board launched a campaign for tourist safety. In recent years, reviews have been mainly negative. The last time her family had heard from the victim was November 27, when she wrote in a group chat on WhatsApp till her phone got switched off around 9 p.m. local time. The driver waited 50 minutes for Stefaniak before taking her on a tour of San Jose.
"He tried to Facetime her twice and he couldn't get through", Jaime said.
The man, who is a Nicaraguan national, was staying in the apartment next to Stefaniak's rental.
Carla, visiting Costa Rica since November 22, disappeared between the evening of November 27 and morning of the 28th.
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.
"Carla is very communicative".
"We are really really hoping it (is not her)", said Hallandale Beach resident Laura Jaime, Stefaniak's best friend and former roommate. "Carla is the person that wakes up and opens her eyes and looks at her phone and literally looks at Instagram and whatsapp". She had a flight the next day (11/28) at 1 pm, but she never showed up.
The lawyer from the hotel says the situation has them very anxious and they have collaborated with police ever since the family reported the woman missing. Her father caught a flight from Tampa International Airport on Monday.
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