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Body Found In Costa Rica Identified As Missing South Florida Woman

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Costa Rican authorities confirmed Tuesday that the woman found buried near an Airbnb property in their country is missing South Florida woman, Carla Stefaniak.

Stefaniak spent several days in Costa Rica late last month celebrating her 36th birthday.

It appears that they were her final days alive.

Crime scene photos released by the Costa Rican government show investigators pouring over the room she was staying in.

Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, in custody

We're told blood was found in her room and the room of the security guard next door.

Police also released a photo of the security guard, Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, in handcuffs on Tuesday.

Greg Zwolinski is a close friend of Carla's. He's been in Costa Rica since she disappeared last week.

He said the family has made two attempts to see Carla's body and identify it but they've been turned away both times.

"The Costa Rican government it seems like they're stalling and moving very slow," Zwolinski said. "The family wants some closure. The agonizing pain of waiting around for a phone call after being denied twice is absolutely unacceptable."

On Monday, search dogs found a partially buried female body covered with plastic bags in a wooded area near the Airbnb property where she was staying.

Costa Rican authorities confirmed Tuesday that the body appears to be her although they cautioned that they were awaiting the results of fingerprint tests.

Authorities also said she appears to have been murdered.

"The autopsy was completed today and we determined the body found initially matches that of Carla Stefaniak," said Walter Espinoza from the Costa Rica Office of Information. "We still have to do a final verification. The individual was stabbed to death with injuries to her neck and upper torso."

She also suffered a blow to the head.

It's heartbreaking for Carla's family and friends to come to grips with.

"I'm one of Carla's best friends and this is painful to me so I can't imagine how much worse it is for them. They just want to get some closure and move on," Zwolinski said.

Zwolinski added that the family hired lawyers and is trying to get a court order to allow them to see Carla's body. They hope to accomplish that Wednesday morning.

Stefaniak's family is of humble means and they have set up a Gofundme page to help with their expenses.

Click here, if you would like to contribute with a donation.


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