Body of tourist Carla Stefaniak identified, suspect detained – The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate
The Director General of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), Walter Espinoza, said Tuesday that “all data that we have compiled” indicates the body they found is that of Carla Stefaniak, a tourist who had been visiting Costa Rica from the United States.
Espinoza said the organization has sent fingerprint samples to the FBI for absolute confirmation of the body’s identity.
OIJ found the body Monday afternoon near the Airbnb property where Stefaniak had been staying when she went missing Nov. 27 in San Antonio of Escazú, San José.
An autopsy revealed Stefaniak had died of stab wounds to the neck and extremities, in addition to a strong blow to the head.
One of the security guards working at the property has been detained as a suspect, Espinoza said. The suspect, who has a surname Espinoza Martinez, is a 32-year-old Nicaraguan immigrant who has been in Costa Rica since June. He had an “irregular” immigration record, according to the OIJ Director, who cited immigration reports they had received.
OIJ said the investigation remains ongoing.
“This is a complex case, and it’s a difficult case,” Espinoza said. “The resolution of this case is very important for the country, for the victim’s family, and for society as a whole.”
According to Stefaniak’s friends, she had messaged Tuesday evening that it was raining heavily and that the power had gone out. “It’s pretty sketchy here,” Stefaniak reportedly sent, before all communication ceased.
Stefaniak missed her flight out of the country the next day, prompting alarm from friends and family who flew to Costa Rica to assist with the search. In addition to the OIJ, the U.S. Embassy and FBI were also alerted.
Less than a month ago, police in San Antonio of Escazú found the dismembered body of 28-year-old local Stephannye Paola Castro Mora. The OIJ has not named a suspect in the Costa Rican’s death.
Stefaniak’s disappearance also comes weeks after Costa Rica’s Tourism Board launched a campaign for tourist safety.
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