Body found in Costa Rica during search for missing Florida woman
4th December 2018

Partially-buried body wrapped in plastic is found in Costa Rica during search for Florida woman who went missing from her ‘sketchy’ Airbnb a week ago

  • Costa Rica’s Justice Investigation Department searching for missing Carla Stefaniak on Monday found a woman’s body 
  • The body was found partially buried and covered with bags in bakcyard of Stefaniak’s Airbnb rental 
  • Stefaniak went to Costa Rica with her sister-in-law to celebrate her birthday
  • Her sister-in-law April Burton took a flight home the day before Carla
  • Carla never showed up to her 1pm flight the next day, November 28 
  • April said Carla texted her around 8pm that the power was out in her Airbnb and it was ‘pretty sketchy’ – that was the last she heard from her  
  • An Uber driver, Airbnb host and guards all say she was last seen getting into an unknown car with her luggage at 5am the morning of the flight 

A body has been discovered partially buried in the backyard of the Airbnb property in Costa Rica where a Miami woman vanished nearly a week ago.

Officials in Costa Rica have not confirmed that the body is that of 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak, who has not been seen or heard from since last Tuesday.

According to the country’s Justice Investigation Department, the body was found in the back of the rental property in San Jose, which Stefaniak described in a text message to her sister-in-law as being ‘pretty sketchy’ last Tuesday night.

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Carla Stefaniak went to Costa Rica with her sister-in-law to celebrate birthday and has been missing since November 27. On Monday, police searching for Stefaniak recovered a body

The remains had been partially buried and covered with plastic bags, reported NBC6.

According to the Spanish-language news site, specially trained K9 dogs participating in the search for Stefaniak led police to a woman’s body in the Escazu neighborhood at around noon local time. 

Stefaniak traveled to Costa Rica with her sister-in-law April Burton last week to celebrate her 36th birthday and was due to fly home to Hallandale Beach alone Wednesday, the day after she dropped April off at the airport.

Carla checked into her 1pm flight, but never showed up to the airport the next morning, November 28.

Her family and friends say they have not heard from her since Tuesday at 8pm when she texted her sister-in-law from the Airbnb to say it was raining and the power was going out – a scene she described as ‘sketchy’.

Now her family are on the ground in Costa Rica, working with local authorities and questioning any witnesses as they believe Carla has been kidnapped. 

Her sister-in-law April Burton (left, pictured together in Costa Rica) took a flight home the day before Carla (right) and they were last texting around 8pm on November 27

A spokesperson for the family said Carla, who works at a Miami insurance agency, dropped her sister-in-law off at the airport in San Jose on November 27 and returned the rental car.  

She then took an Uber to an Airbnb about 30 minutes from the airport. It was the same Uber that drove Carla sightseeing and shopping for the afternoon. 

According to family spokesperson Katie Gardner, Carla texted her brother’s wife updates and photos throughout the afternoon until she got back to the Airbnb. 

‘Last time we heard from her was 11/27 around 8pm when she said it was raining crazy and power went out,’ April said in an Instagram post in a desperate plea to find her sister-in-law. 

‘She continued with ”It’s pretty sketchy here,”’ April said.

April then said she texted Carla to wish her a happy birthday at midnight but received no response.

The next day, April got a call from Carla’s friends saying they had wished her a happy birthday but also got no response. 

That’s when they discovered Carla had never boarded her flight back home.

Carla was last seen online around 9pm the night before her flight, she is pictured (left) at the airport heading to Costa Rica and (right) enjoying her vacation days before her disappearance 

Carla never showed up to her 1pm flight the next day, November 28

The Stefaniak family thinks Carla was kidnapped and has traveled to Costa Rica to search for her. Pictures is Carla with her mother and two brothers 

Carla’s brother and April’s husband Mario Caicedo has flown to Costa Rica where he’s been working with law enforcement agency Organismo de Investigation Judicial to find his sister. 

‘She never got back online to check all these birthday wishes,’ he said. ‘This is one more thing telling us that she was abducted.’

The Stefaniak family say they have spoken to the Uber driver, Airbnb host and security guards who all say they saw Carla leaving the Airbnb with her luggage around 5am and getting into an unknown car.

‘The Uber driver arrived around 8am to pick up Stefaniak but could not find her,’ Gardner said. ‘However, her family says the story does not make sense since her flight was not until that afternoon and the airport was only 30 minutes away.’

According to NBC News, Carla had a FaceTime call with a friend and mentioned that she might ask a security guard at the Airbnb to buy her water because of the storm. 

She was last seen online on WhatsApp at 8.20pm before her phone died at 9pm. She has not been online or posted since.   

Carla moved to Tampa from Venezuela in 2000 and then settled in Miami in 2012.

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An Uber driver, Airbnb host and guards all say she was last seen getting into an unknown car with her luggage at 5am the morning of the flight

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