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Police say ‘sexual motive’ behind murder of Florida tourist

Police in Costa Rica said the murder of a Miami woman found dead this week near the Airbnb she rented out was sexually motivated.

Director of the country’s Judicial Investigation Department, Walter Espinoza, said at a press conference Wednesday his team believes the ‘motive is sexual’ in Carla Stefaniak’s slaying.

Security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, was arrested Tuesday in connection with her death.  

The father of Stefaniak, who went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica, has identified her body.

Stefaniak’s tearful dad Carlos confirmed the news as a security guard who was staying next door to the Airbnb she had rented was arrested over her murder.

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.

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.

Police in Costa Rica said the murder of Miami woman Carla Stefaniak (left) found dead this week near the Airbnb she rented out was sexually motivated. Security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, (right) was arrested Tuesday in connection with her death

The father of Stefaniak, who went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica, has identified her body

The father of Stefaniak, who went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica, has identified her body

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

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

‘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.

‘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.

The listing for the Airbnb is pictured

The listing for the Airbnb is pictured

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 

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 

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. 

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

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. 

Stefaniak’s father Carlos (above with family friend Greg Zwolinsky) confirmed late Tuesday that the body was that of his daughter. He cried when discussing her killing on GMA alongside family friend Greg Zwolinksy

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 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.  

Stefaniak then 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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