Officials in Costa Rica have found a body outside the Airbnb rental where a missing Florida woman had been staying while vacationing in San José for her birthday.
Walter Espinoza, a spokesman for Costa Rica’s government explained in a press conference, which has been translated from Spanish, according to The Miami Herald, that a woman’s body was found wrapped in plastic, buried in the back of the vacation property.
Despite the body’s close proximity to the missing woman’s Airbnb, authorities cannot confirm that it is the body of missing woman Carla Stefaniak, 36, as it’s badly decomposed.
“We cannot yet confirm that it is the body of Carla Stefaniak,” Espinoza said The Herald reported. “Once we get the autopsy results we can provide more details.”
Espinoza also said in the press conference that blood was discovered inside the rental and has since been transported to a lab for testing, ABC Action News reports.
Stefaniak, who was traveling with her sister-in-law April Burton, was last seen on Nov. 27, just one day before her birthday.
Stefaniak, from Tampa, was expected to return home to Hallandale Beach on Wednesday, but her family grew worried after she didn’t make it back. While the birthday girl checked into her flight she never got on the plane.
Prior to her disappearance, Stefaniak brought Burton, who had to cut her time in Costa Rica short due to an obligation back home, to the airport, according to Fox 13 Tampa Bay.
“It was her birthday, and it makes me feel really bad. I do feel guilty because I left early,” Burton told the outlet.
After being dropped off, Burton says she and her sister-in-law texted until late in the night.
She explained on Facebook that after the airport, Stefaniak returned her rental car and took an Uber back to her Airbnb.
“The Uber driver waited for her for approximately 50 minutes before taking her for tour around San Jose. She arrived back to her Airbnb between 4 and 5 tour around San Jose,” Stefaniak wrote. “Last time we heard from her was on 11/27 around 8 p.m. when she said it was raining crazy and the power went out.”
Burton also said that Stefaniak texted her and said the Airbnb was “pretty sketchy.” She’s also had no online or social media presence since that night and hasn’t responded to any of her friend’s birthday wishes, leaving her family to believe she was kidnapped.
“We just know she has been abducted,” Burton told WFLA-TV. “There is no reason for her not to have any contact with anyone. It has been five days,” Burton explained.
In hopes of finding answers, Stefaniak’s brother Carlos Caicedo has traveled to Costa Rica where he visited the Airbnb.
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“She went there the night before and left at 5 a.m.,” Caicedo told WFLA-TV, explaining what he claims the guards of the property told him.
“Everything is gone. She left with everything on hand,” Caicedo added.
According to Fox 13, the owner of the Airbnb also told the family that Stefaniak was seen getting into an Uber with her luggage early Wednesday morning.
However, given that her flight wasn’t until 1 p.m. Stefaniak’s family finds it hard to believe that she was heading to the airport that early.
“None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story because it really doesn’t make sense,” Burton told Fox 13. “We know she was abducted.”
The investigation is still ongoing at this time.
The family has also created a GoFundMe in order to raise funds for their travels to Costa Rica to find Stefaniak.
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