“All the data we’ve compiled points to this being her,” General Director of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department Walter Espinoza said, according to WSVN News 7.
Though some DNA tests have yet to be completed, officials are certain the body is of deceased 36-year-old Stefaniak.
An autopsy revealed the Tampa resident died of injuries to the head and stab wounds to the neck. Her death is being treated as a homicide, and police have now detained a suspect.
Espinoza told the news outlet that 32-year-old Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, a security guard working at the Airbnb where Stefaniak was staying, became a suspect early on in the investigation, when he gave police conflicting stories about the woman’s whereabouts. He was taken in for questioning this Monday, weeks after Stefaniak went missing inside the vacation property.
As RadarOnline.com readers know, Stefaniak was celebrating her birthday with sister-in-law April Burton in San José last month. On November 27, Burton flew back home, leaving Stefaniak alone in an Airbnb which she described as “pretty sketchy.” That night, the power went out, her phone died, and she was not heard from again.
This Monday, after weeks of searching, Costa Rica officials found a dead body wrapped in plastic and buried outside the Airbnb. They have now identified it as Carla Stefaniak — though her heartbroken family is still in disbelief and hoping for a miracle.
“We’re destroyed. We just hope that it is not my sister. That’s our biggest hope,” Mario Caicedo, Stefaniak’s brother told WSVN News 7, saying that they are still waiting for some DNA tests to be completed. “My dad and my brother and other friend, they are right now at the morgue in San Jose, Costa Rica. They are waiting to see the body, this body that they found near the Airbnb where my sister stayed that night, the last night that we knew from her.”
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