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Father IDs body of Florida woman slain in Costa Rica

The father of a Florida woman who went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica has identified her body as the security guard who was staying next door to the AirBnB she had rented was arrested over her murder.

Carla Stefaniak’s body was found on Monday half-buried in plastic at the back of the rental property in San Jose after she vanished last Tuesday while celebrating her 36th birthday.

A posting on the ‘Finding Carla’ Facebook page set up by her family said Costa Rican authorities had finally allowed her father to view her body.

He confirmed late Tuesday that the body was that of his daughter. 

Carla Stefaniak’s body was found on Monday half-buried in plastic at the back of the rental property in San Jose, Costa Rica after she vanished last week celebrating her 36th birthday 

Bismark Espinosa Martinez, a security guard at the villa where Stefaniak was staying, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the Miami woman’s death

‘Words cannot express the devastation within her family and friends. We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla,’ the tribute post read.

Stefaniak's father (above) confirmed late Tuesday that the body was that of his daughter

Stefaniak’s father (above) confirmed late Tuesday that the body was that of his daughter

‘We will never forget the joy she brought into our lives, how much she made us laugh. We will always be with her and we know she will always be with us. May god bless her soul.’ 

An autopsy found stab wounds on her arms and neck, while the cause of death was determined to be a blow to the head. 

Investigators found blood inside the AirBnb where she was staying.

Security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the Miami woman’s death. Blood is also believed to have been found in his nearby apartment. 

Authorities said Espinoza Martinez had been staying next door to Stefaniak and that he gave contradictory statements during questioning. 

Investigators said blood was found in the AirBnb where Stefaniak had been staying when she vanished last week. Photo courtesy of GMA

Investigators said blood was found in the AirBnb where Stefaniak had been staying when she vanished last week. Photo courtesy of GMA

Authorities said Espinoza Martinez had been staying next door to Stefaniak. Pictured above is the AirBnb rental where she was staying. She sent her sister-in-law a text message describing it as 'pretty sketchy'

Authorities said Espinoza Martinez had been staying next door to Stefaniak. Pictured above is the AirBnb rental where she was staying. She sent her sister-in-law a text message describing it as ‘pretty sketchy’

Her family have been on the ground in Costa Rica since she vanished and have been helping local authorities and questioning witnesses 

Espinoza Martinez told Stefaniak’s family that he saw her leaving the AirBnb with her luggage at about 5am on November 28 and getting into an unknown car. 

Her family said it didn’t make sense because her flight wasn’t until the afternoon and the airport was only 30 minutes away from where she was staying.   

Walter Espinoza, head of the country’s Judicial Investigation Department, said officials had analyzed surveillance video from the apartment complex. 

Espinoza said the images in the video also did not align with statements made by the security guard. 

Stefaniak had been on vacation in Costa Rica with her sister-in-law April Burton to celebrate her 36th birthday. 

Stefaniak (right) had been on vacation in Costa Rica with her sister-in-law April Burton (left) to celebrate her 36th birthday. They are pictured together last week

Stefaniak (right) had been on vacation in Costa Rica with her sister-in-law April Burton (left) to celebrate her 36th birthday. They are pictured together last week

She was scheduled to fly home alone on Wednesday – a day after Burton left Costa Rica. 

Stefaniak had dropped Burton at the airport and returned their rental car before taking a 30-minute Uber to an AirBnb that she had checked in to for her final night. 

She sent her sister-in-law a text message describing it as ‘pretty sketchy’. She said it was raining and the power was going out. 

She sent the text on Tuesday night and her family and friends had not heard from her since. 

Stefaniak had a FaceTime call with a friend and mentioned that she might ask a security guard at the Airbnb to buy her water because of the storm. 

She had checked into her 1pm flight but never made it to the airport. She also failed to respond to a number of birthday messages from family and friends.     

Carla was last seen online around 9pm before her flight

Officials found her body outside the rental on Monday, and said Tuesday, it is likely her

Carla was last seen online around 9pm the night before her flight, she is pictured (right) at the airport heading to Costa Rica and (left) enjoying her vacation days before her disappearance

 Stefaniak had dropped Burton at the airport and returned their rental car before taking a 30-minute Uber to an AirBnb that she had checked in to for her final night

 Stefaniak had dropped Burton at the airport and returned their rental car before taking a 30-minute Uber to an AirBnb that she had checked in to for her final night

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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