Police suspect sexual motive behind Florida woman's killing in Costa Rica

Carla Stefaniak

The owners of the building that housed the Airbnb said they have temporarily closed the facility.

The family of a Florida woman who was found dead this week after vanishing during a birthday vacation in Costa Rica is in mourning.

Her body was found on Monday half-buried in plastic at the back of the rental property after she vanished last Tuesday.

A posting on the "Finding Carla " Facebook page says Costa Rican authorities let the family view her body.

Stefaniak's tearful dad Carlos confirmed late Tuesday that the body found was that of his daughter.

On the Facebook page "Finding Carla", which has posted updates on the case, Stefaniak was described as "selfless, funny, charismatic, an awesome friend, an avid animal lover and a fighter". "We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla", the post on Finding Carla says.

"We will never forget the joy she brought into our lives, how much she made us laugh. We are not", her family wrote on Facebook.

"May God bless her soul". Pictured above is the AirBnb rental where she was staying. Authorities did not disclose the cause of death, but the body showed signs of blunt force trauma and stab wounds, WPLG-TV reported.

Investigators found blood inside the Airbnb where she was staying.

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Security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, was arrested in the slaying after he contradicted himself in statements to police, the department said Wednesday.

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 vehicle.

After her sister-in-law left, an Uber driver took her on a tour of San Jose, then dropped her off at the Airbnb around 5 p.m. on November 27. Investigators said he was taken into custody after they reviewed surveillance video, which showed contradictions in his statements following Stefaniak's disappearance last week.

The killing of a 36-year-old South Florida resident who was vacationing in Costa Rica is raising concerns about travel to what was once considered the safest destination in Central America. Her sister-in-law, April Burton, left the country last week, which is one day earlier than she was slated to return.

"It's pretty sketchy here", she said, according to CBS News.

"She was a very nice neighbor - really big smile, friendly girl", neighbor Joseph Rivelli said.

The Airbnb owner and local security guards told the family the same story. When she never exited her scheduled flight Wednesday, her family began worrying. Stefaniak also failed to respond to a number of birthday messages from family and friends.

Bugra Demirel of Tallahassee, said in a telephone interview that Stefaniak, who was an insurance agent, loved to travel and post photos on Instagram. Two days later, her last Instagram picture featured her in a turquoise bathing suit, lying near a pool with tropical plants in the background.

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