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

Family Identifies Body Found in Costa Rica as Missing Florida Woman Carla Stefaniak

Stefaniak and her sister in law, April Burton, were vacationing in Costa Rica for Stefaniak's 36th birthday.

The body of Carla Stefaniak, a U.S. citizen who went missing late last last month while staying at an apartment complex outside the capital of San Jose, has been found, her family confirmed. Her family reported her missing when she didn't return home.

A partially decomposed body was found Monday about 300 yards from the apartment complex where Stefaniak was staying in a province just outside the country's capital of San Jose, said Walter Espinoza, a spokesman with the nation's Judicial Investigation Department.

US State Department officials were aware of the reports of a missing American in Costa Rica, a representative told CNN. Police said he gave contradictory statements during questioning.

Investigators said blood was found in the AirBnb where Stefaniak had been staying when she vanished last week. He said Carla was a "happy soul" who made everyone laugh and had a large social media presence.

On Tuesday, authorities announced they had arrested a security guard, Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, in connection with the slaying.

According to its listing on TripAdvisor, the Villa le Mas is a compound with seven vacation apartments. Her last post, tagged from Quepos, Costa Rica, on November 25, showed her sprawled next to an aquamarine-colored infinity pool.

Stefaniak and Burton had been texting each other via WhatsApp, Burton said. "I'm going to miss this place", she wrote.

The complex where Stefaniak had been stayed is temporarily closed, a lawyer for the site told CNN affiliate WFTS.

The owner of the Airbnb told relatives she was seen entering an Uber with her luggage around 5 a.m. Wednesday, but Uber records do not show a transaction. "She can't speak", he said. She added that it was "pretty sketchy here" and included a picture of the Airbnb.

"In the following days, we will release critical digital leads of the investigation, continue asking questions about the involvement of others in Carla's murder", said the statement posted to Facebook.

Stefaniak opted then to stay at a hostel closer to the airport before her flight the next day, her brother, Carlos Caicedo, told WSVN.

Her family last heard from her the night of November 27. But then he changed his story, and investigators scrutinized those details, according to Costa Rican media. The family wondered why she would have taken a vehicle to the airport at 5 a.m. when her flight was in the afternoon. "Three hundred meters away we found her body", Espinoza said.

An autopsy showed multiple stab wounds to the "neck and upper extremities", as well as blunt force trauma to the head, the spokesman said. Stefaniak, who stayed behind to enjoy an extra night, was scheduled to fly home the following day but never made her flight, authorities said. Here's what we know so far about what happened.

Demirel wondered if the culprit planned to harm Stefaniak from the moment she booked the reservation because her profile photo shows she's "beautiful" and she noted in her reservation that she was traveling alone. We want them to be aware of their surroundings.

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