Security guard detained in murder of Florida woman at Costa Rican property

Sergio Conner
December 9, 2018

Costa Rican authorities said her killer is the security guard of the Airbnb, 32-year-old Bismarck Espinosa Martinez of Nicaragua. It was the last time that her family would hear from her.

It looks like his "motive is sexual" in nature, said Walter Espinoza, director general of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department, at a news conference Wednesday.

OIJ officials said blood was discovered inside the complex, too.

Stefaniak's family is of humble means and they have set up a Gofundme page to help with their expenses.

The guard contradicted himself in statements to police.

"What happened to Carla is just unimaginable", friend Bugra Demirel of Tallahassee said in a telephone interview.

A friend described Stefaniak as a "happy soul" who made everyone laugh and had a large social media presence.

Family, friends, colleagues and neighbors are mourning a South Florida woman who was killed while vacationing in Costa Rica to celebrate her birthday.

The suspect is a Nicaraguan national who has been in Costa Rica since June.

Costa Rica had always been spared the violence that plagued its Central American neighbors, but the country has seen a jump in homicides in recent years.

According to its listing on TripAdvisor, the Villa le Mas is a compound with seven vacation apartments.

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An Airbnb representative said the company is cooperating with local authorities in Costa Rica.

Stefaniak, who was an insurance agent, loved to travel and post photos on Instagram. That was the last conversation she's known to have had with anyone she knew. Police said they'll decide whether they can at some point release photographs of her luggage so the public could help. Two days later, her last Instagram picture featured her in a turquoise bathing suit, lying near a pool with tropical plants in the background.

A day before she went missing, Stefaniak dropped Burton at the airport and returned their rental auto. Stefaniak reserved an Airbnb about 10 miles (16 kilometres) from the airport in San Jose for her final night in the country.

Airbnb says it has removed the vacation rental listing in Costa Rica where a woman was staying when she was slain.

She had dropped Burton at the airport and returned their rental vehicle before taking a 30-minute Uber to an Airbnb that she had checked in to for her final night. "Everything is gone. She left with everything on hand". Her body was found Monday.

"Costa Rican Authorities finally allowed the family of Carla to see the body", reads a Wednesday morning message on the Finding Carla Facebook page.

Carla Stefaniak of Florida spent the night at the Villa le Mas, near San Jose, on November 27. "Once we get the autopsy results we can provide more details". Her father caught a flight from Tampa International Airport on Monday.

On Tuesday, a body was found half-buried and covered in plastic in a wooded area about 1,000 feet (305 metres) from the hotel.

Espinoza said Tuesday that the 36-year-old had died from head trauma and was stabbed multiple times.

Before the identity of the body was confirmed, Stefaniak's father Carlos Caicedo told WSVN the family was distraught over the discovery. "We are not", her family wrote on Facebook. He showed a photo of his four children - Carla and her sister, and their two brothers. Instead, Carla Stefaniak vanished last week, never making it back home alive. "Girls travelling alone make decisions to stay at places".

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