The father of Carla Stefaniak, the American woman found dead in Costa Rica, has spoken out, saying he’s in “terrible pain” after his daughter’s death.
Stefaniak, 36, had traveled from Florida to San José to celebrate her 36th birthday and went missing on Nov. 27.
Her body was found on Monday, half-buried and wrapped in plastic, near the Airbnb apartment she had been renting and a security guard at the apartment, Bismark Espinosa Martinez, was arrested.
Martinez is a Nicaraguan national who moved to Costa Rica several months ago. He was working as a security guard at Villa Le Mas, a compound with seven vacation apartments, despite not having the proper documents to be in Costa Rica, officials told The Associated Press.
“The whole world will know about you in a tragic way. What a terrible pain. How I would have liked to go through my life unnoticed, without the whole world knowing about us,” Carlos Caicedo, Stefaniak’s father, said in Spanish at a press conference on Dec. 5.
“It doesn’t give me any comfort but I really want the authorities, especially the judicial authorities, to track down those responsible for this abominable and terrible act, and to bring the full weight of the law upon them,” he added.
He said that he saw her body at the morgue. She had her head bashed in and throat slashed, an image he said has stuck with him.
“It’s too much for us,” he told WFTS. His family is now incomplete, he added.
“Do you see how happy she was?” he said, showing an image of her and his mother.
Stefaniak’s brother Mario Caicedo traveled to Costa Rica in the wake of her death and is trying to retrace her steps.
UPDATE : Around 11:30pm on 12/05, Costa Rican Authorities finally allowed the family of Carla to see the body. Carla’s…
He said that guards on the Airbnb property told him she was there the night before her death and left at 5 a.m., taking everything she had brought with her. The owner of the Airbnb said that Stefaniak took an Uber away from the property but Stefaniak’s Uber records don’t list a transaction.
And that story was disputed by family members.
“None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story because it really doesn’t make sense,” Stefaniak’s sister-in-law April Burton told Fox 13 before the body was found. “We know she was abducted. There’s no reason for her not to contact anyone.”
Burton was celebrating with Stefaniak but departed on Nov. 27; Stefaniak was scheduled to depart on Nov. 28, but she went missing and never arrived at the airport.
“It was her birthday, and it makes me feel really bad. I do feel guilty because I left early,” Burton said.
The death came after the U.S. State Department in September issued a travel advisory for U.S. nationals visiting Costa Rica. “Exercise normal precautions in Costa Rica. Some areas have increased risk,” the agency said.
The FBI and State Department are involved in the investigation of the murder.