'Sexual' motive in killing of Florida woman Carla Stefaniak while vacationing in Costa Rica, authorities say

Carla Stefaniak went to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday, never dreaming it would be her last.

After going missing for several days, she was found buried under plastic bags behind the AirBnB she was staying at. Now authorities are saying that her murder, allegedly by a security guard who lived next door to the AirBnB apartment she was renting, was apparently sexually motivated.

Family and friends became worried after she did not arrive home as scheduled on Nov. 28, having checked into her flight but not boarded the plane. Her brother believed she had been “kidnapped or abducted,” he told NBC.

Now, forensic evidence such as blood traces indicate that Stefaniak was attacked in the apartment she was staying in near San Jose, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, by a security guard who lived next door. Police in Costa Rica arrested 32-year-old Bismark Espinosa Martinez on Monday night.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Walter Espinoza, director general of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department, told reporters that “preliminary information shows it was sexual in nature,” ABC News 10 of South Florida reported.

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Authorities detailed that Stefaniak had been found partially nude, covered with plastic bags, with blunt force trauma to the head, and stab wounds her neck and arms, ABC said. Authorities did not release much more information about the case, saying the investigation is ongoing

Meanwhile, her brother, Carlos Caicedo, said he had actually spoken to Espinosa when he went looking for his sister.

"We went to the villa. This guy shook our hands, looked us in the eye and told us his fake story," Caicedo told ABC News 10. "I can't believe it."

Her family said there are many more questions to be answered.

“Words cannot express the devastation within her family and friends,” said Carla’s family on a Facebook page they had created, Finding Carla. “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.”

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