Body found after U.S. woman goes missing in Costa Rica

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Walter Espinoza, head of the country's Judicial Investigation Department, said officials were comparing fingerprints to confirm the identity.

Shortly after, during a FaceTime call with a friend, Stefaniak said that she was thirsty and considered asking security guards at the Airbnb if they could buy her some water, according to the timeline.

Officials said Monday that dogs discovered a body in the backyard of the villa Stefaniak rented from AirBnB during her trip with her sister-in-law to celebrate Stefaniak's 36th birthday.

- All signs indicate that a body that was found Monday in Costa Rica is that of a Broward County woman who was reported missing last week, authorities announced Tuesday.

Espinoza added that authorities found stains in the Airbnb apartment where Stefaniak was staying that were "compatible with blood", though they are conducting further testing.


Stefaniak's brother flew down to Costa Rica on Friday to search for his sister.

Stefaniak's family and friends, who live in Tampa, did not hear from her after she texted them from her Airbnb rental on the night of November 27 to say the power was going in and out. While her family returned to the US after the weekend, she made a decision to stay back.

On Tuesday, a family friend, Bugra Demirel, told the BBC they had waited outside the morgue to identify her body. The two texted each other throughout the day Wednesday, Burton said, until Stefaniak suddenly stopped responding to her messages that evening.

Martinez was reportedly staying in the room next to Stefaniak and gave contradictory statements when questioned by police.

Though it's unclear whether it was Martinez who said this, BBC reports that security guards initially claimed to have seen Stefaniak take an Uber to go to the airport on the morning she was supposed to fly home.


Caicedo said Monday that he had heard that a body was found but that the Organismo de Investigación Judicial - which is investigating Stefaniak's disappearance - had not yet told his family if the body was hers. He said the body belongs to a woman and was found half-buried and covered with plastic bags.

The Miami Herald reported that Stefaniak immigrated to the United States from Venezuela in 2000 and works for a Miami insurance agency.

Burton added: "For nearly six days to go by and no contact, she would have to have been abducted".

"Six o'clock, still haven't heard from her", Burton said.

Bugra Demirel told the BBC: "It's a frightful wait, and every single minute that Costa Rican officials are not showing the body is just a tremendous amount of pain on the family". We're going on six days not hearing from her. However, an Uber driver she scheduled to pick her up still showed up at 8:30 a.m. Jaime said.


She later communicated with a friend via Facetime and said that she wanted to go out that night but was too exhausted.

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