Security Guard Suspected in US Tourist's Murder

Nicaraguan was staying next to Carla Stefaniak's Airbnb in Costa Rica
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2018 7:36 AM CST
US Tourist's Killer Allegedly Lurked Next Door
Carla Stefaniak   (GoFundMe)

Despite her brother's best hopes, a woman's body discovered at the back of an Airbnb property in Costa Rica has been identified as Florida's Carla Stefaniak, whom a security guard is now suspected of killing. Nicaraguan Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, a 32-year-old security guard who'd been staying in the apartment next-door to Stefaniak, was arrested after making conflicting statements to police, report the BBC and CNN. Early reports suggested a security guard had seen Stefaniak leave the Airbnb in a car around 5am on Nov. 28, her 36th birthday, though that now seems unlikely. Investigators say suspected blood was found inside the Airbnb, while Stefaniak's body—showing neck lacerations and blunt force trauma to the head, per the AP—was partially buried some 200 feet away.

"Carla's father confirmed that the body belongs to Carla," reads a post on a Facebook group set up to help find Stefaniak, noting family members "will release critical digital leads of the investigation" and "continue asking questions about the involvement of others in Carla’s murder" in the coming days. Stefaniak had arrived in Costa Rica on Nov. 22 with her sister-in-law, who returned to the US on Nov. 27, a day before Stefaniak was to fly home to Miami. She seemingly vanished after complaining about a power outage at the "sketchy" Airbnb in San Jose's San Antonio de Escazu neighborhood. Officials say Martinez was detained after surveillance video from the apartment conflicted with his statements. Considered a flight risk, he's being held in jail, per CNN. (Another US tourist was murdered in Mexico.)

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