Tourist Carla Stefaniak's murder in Costa Rica was sexually motivated: cops

Tourist Carla Stefaniak's murder in Costa Rica was sexually motivated: cops

The father of a Florida woman who went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica has identified her body, found near the villa she rented.

Detectives who interviewed people who had contact with Espinoza Martinez before Stefaniak went missing on November 28 grew suspicious when they noticed his statements were contradictory, Espinoza, the government spokesman, told reporters.

Now that Stefaniak has been identified by her family, they say they will continue to press Costa Rican officials for more information on who killed her.

On Nov. 28 - her birthday - Stefaniak did not board her scheduled flight home and family members grew anxious when she didn't respond to messages wishing her a happy birthday.

A lawyer for the complex where the Airbnb was located said witnesses saw Stefaniak get into a mystery auto at 5am on the Wednesday morning but family were quick to dismiss the witness account, saying the 36-year-old's flight was not till 1pm and she would not have left at that hour for the airport, located only half an hour away.

The police said Martinez, a Nicaraguan immigrant, worked at the complex despite lacking the proper documents to be in Costa Rica.

"Everything she did she always shared with friends and that's when we knew definitely something was up as soon as we lost contact with her", Demirel said. The man, Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, 32, had been staying in the apartment next door to hers. Investigators said he was taken into custody after they reviewed surveillance video, which showed contradictions in his statements following Stefaniak's disappearance last week.

Carla Stefaniak of Florida spent the night at the Villa le Mas, near San Jose, on November 27.

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The family later learned there were no records in Stefaniak's Uber account from that day, Fernandez said. "Some areas have increased risk", the agency said.

Traces of blood and other forensic evidence appear to show 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak was attacked in Apartment No. 8 of the Airbnb rental where she stayed near San Jose.

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

She was texting back-and-forth with Burton, complaining about the power going on-and-off due to the rain and at approximately 8pm, her last message read: "It's pretty sketchy here".

The night prior to her flight, Stefaniak took an Uber ride around the town and was dropped off at her Airbnb. Then, the messages stopped.

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 auto. "You never want to think the worst, but that's where your mind goes to automatically". "Everything is gone. She left with everything on hand".

Authorities confirmed on Monday a body was found near the Airbnb where Stefaniak was staying.

Burga told the BBC: "It's a disgusting wait, and every single minute that Costa Rican officials are not showing the body is just a tremendous amount of pain on the family". "Because we haven't found them during the process of our investigation".

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