Watch CBS News

Family Confirms Body Found In Costa Rica Is Missing South Florida Woman

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A tragic end to the search in Costa Rica for a missing woman from South Florida.

Overnight, her father confirmed that a body found by authorities is indeed his daughter Carla Stefaniak.

On Tuesday, Costa Rican authorities positively identified the body but did not allow her family to see it.

Overnight her family posted on Facebook that they were finally allowed to view the body and confirmed that it was her.

Stefaniak, who lived in Miami Beach, went missing late last month while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica.

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

Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, in custody

On Tuesday, police arrested that security guard, identified as 32-year-old Bismark Espinoza Martinez, in Stefaniak's death.

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," Greg Zwolinski said.

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

Airbnb says it has removed the vacation rental listing in Costa Rica where Stefaniak was staying.

According to its listing on TripAdvisor, the Villa le Mas is a compound with seven vacation apartments.

Villa Le Mas's attorney, Federico Jenkins, said the owners are cooperating with the authorities in the investigation.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.