The body of a Miami woman who had gone missing during a vacation in Costa Rica has reportedly been found.
According to BBC, cadaver dogs uncovered Carla Stefaniak’s body half-buried under plastic bags just 200 feet behind the San Jose Airbnb accommodation she was staying in on Monday. It was identified as Stefaniak’s body on Tuesday.
Bismark Espinosa Martinez, a 32-year-old security guard for the property, has been arrested in her death. According to officials, the man, who was staying in the apartment next to Stefaniak’s, had made conflicting statements to the police.
The cause of death has been ruled as head trauma.
Stefaniak, an insurance agent, was in the Central American country celebrating her 36th birthday with her sister-in-law April Burton last week. Burton returned to Florida Tuesday, Nov. 27, a day before Stefaniak was supposed to. After dropping her relative off at the airport, Stefaniak spent the day sightseeing before returning to her Airbnb in the San Jose suburb of Escazu.
Back in the apartment, Stefaniak texted Burton that it was raining hard that night and the power in the apartment had gone out, noting, “It’s pretty sketchy here.”
The next morning, Nov. 28, friends wished Stefaniak a happy birthday and did not receive a response. The woman, who had checked in to her 1:30 p.m. flight into Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, never got on the plane.
Guards at the complex informed Stefaniak’s family she left the apartment at 5 a.m. Tuesday with her luggage and got into an Uber heading toward the airport, 30 minutes away. Untrusting of the story, relatives, who traveled to Costa Rica fearing Stefaniak had been abducted, said they believed she was in “imminent danger.”
According to the family’s Facebook page, Finding Carla, relatives have not been able to identify the body yet and are in the process of securing dental records for medical examiners, despite reports that the body found is that of Stefaniak.
“We went to the morgue today to identify the body that was found yesterday. However Costa Rican investigators decided that they need more time and we are back at the hotel waiting for another chance to go back. The stress, anxiety, and wait is so devastating to everyone, and this is by far the worst day for the family,” reads one post made Tuesday at 2:20 p.m. local time.
The Airbnb listing for the apartment where Stefaniak was staying has been removed.