Watch CBS News

Body Found In Costa Rica Feared To Be That Of Missing South Florida Woman

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Authorities in Costa Rica have found a body Monday in the area where a South Florida woman had gone missing.

Costa Rica Judicial Investigative Office spokesperson Marisel Rodriguez tells CBS News that a body has been found partially buried and inside plastic in the area where Miami resident Carla Stefaniak was staying outside of San Jose, Costa Rica.

Authorities have not identified the body yet and are in contact with Stefaniak's family who are in Costa Rica in an effort to make an identification.

One of Stefaniak's brothers, Mario Caicedo, said he is remaining positive that the body discovered is not his sister.

"Sincerely, I didn't feel bad or scared because I have so much positivity and so much faith that it's not my sister," Mario said. "We're just waiting for the confirmation that it isn't her from the authorities."

He has a message for Carla.

"Come home," he said, as his eyes welled up. "I miss her. I want to have her close to me. We're all waiting for her."

Earlier story follows:

The family of a South Florida woman who disappeared during a vacation in Central America is desperately trying to find her.

Carla Stefaniak, who lives near Miami, went to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday. Her family says they haven't heard from her since the night before she was set to return home. The was nearly a week ago.

During the trip Stefaniak was all smiles, posting multiple videos and photos on social media as she and her sister-in-law April Burton spent a week-long vacation in Costa Rica.

"It seemed so safe when we were there, everything was great," said Burton.

Because of a prior commitment, Burton left Costa Rica on November 27th - the day before Stefaniak was scheduled to fly home.

Now on her own, Stefaniak took an Uber to her Airbnb and then had her driver give her a tour of San Jose. After returning around 5 p.m., She told a friend it was "raining crazy" and the power was out. She added that "it's pretty sketchy here."

Around 9 p.m. that night, all communication stopped which was highly unusual, according to her brother Carlos Caicedo, who is now assisting in search efforts in Costa Rica.

"It was her birthday and she loves to be on social media. So I'm guessing every single app that there is that you can communicate, I'm sure she was on it," he said.

Caicedo said according to the owner of the Airbnb, a security guard saw his sister get into a car with her bags at 5 a.m. the next morning.

"Which makes no sense because her flight was at 1:30 p.m. and she was only 20 to 30 minutes away from the airport and she is never early for anything," said Burton.

Adding to the mystery, the family said Stefaniak had checked-in online for her flight and ordered an Uber to pick her up later that morning.

Airbnb had no comment and Uber said it will assist in the investigation.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio's office has reached out to assist the family.


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.