Security guard of Airbnb held in murder of American woman on vacation in Costa Rica; authorities say motive was 'sexual'
32-year-old security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez was arrested on December 4 in connection with Carla Stefaniak's suspicious death
Authorities in Costa Rica have announced that the murder of a woman from Miami, who was found dead earlier this week outside her Airbnb, had a sexual motive. Walter Espinoza, the Director of the Judicial Investigation Department in the country, said at a press conference held on December 5 that his team believes the motive behind the murder of 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak was "sexual". A 32-year-old security guard, identified as Bismark Espinosa Martinez, was arrested on December 4 in connection with her suspicious death.
According to The Daily Mail, Stefaniak's body was found half naked and covered with plastic bags at the back of the property in San Jose on December 3. She told a friend of hers in a FaceTime call on November 27, which is estimated as the day she disappeared, that she had been planning to meet with the guard and ask him to buy water because there was a heavy storm that day.
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This was the last time that the friend heard from Stefaniak before the battery in the victim's phone died around 9 pm. Stefaniak also told her sister-in-law that the Airbnb she was staying at was "pretty sketchy" and that it had been raining and the power was going out.
Stefaniak's father identified her body late on December 4. The woman had gone to the tropical country to celebrate her 36th birthday when she went missing. Carlos, her devastated father, confirmed that the body found on December 3 was hers after she vanished from the Airbnb last week.
A post that was put up on the 'Finding Carla' page on Facebook by her family members said that Costa Rican authorities had finally allowed Carlos to see her body.
The tribute post read: "Words cannot express the devastation within her family and friends. We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla. We will never forget the joy she brought into our lives, how much she made us laugh. We will always be with her and we know she will always be with us. May God bless her soul."
An autopsy that was performed on the body showed that she had stab wounds on her arms and neck but the cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators also found blood inside the Airbnb she was staying in. Blood was also believed to have been found in the guard's apartment which was nearby.
Authorities said that Martinez had been staying right next door to Stefaniak and his statements did not match when he was questioned. The victim's family has been in Costa Rica since the day she disappeared and have been cooperating with local authorities.
Martinez is believed to have told Stefaniak's family that he saw her leaving her Airbnb with her luggage at around 5 am on November 28 and getting into an unknown car. Her family objected saying this didn't make sense as her flight was only in the afternoon and the airport was just 30 minutes away from the Airbnb she had rented.
Walter said that officials have since analyzed all the surveillance footage from the apartment complex. He said that the footage they saw did not correlate with anything the security guard said.
Stefaniak was in Costa Rica on vacation with her sister-in-law, April Burton, to celebrate her 36th birthday. She was supposed to fly home alone on November 28, one day after Burton had already left.
Stefaniak dropped off Burton at the airport and gave back their rental car before taking a 30-minute Uber ride to the Airbnb that she had checked into for her final night. She checked into her 1 pm flight online but never got to the airport.