Costa Rican Authorities Say Suspected Murder of U.S. Tourist Was ‘Sexually’ Motivated

Costa Rican authorities mentioned Wednesday that the suspected homicide of a 36-year-old American tourist was sexually motivated, and introduced they’d a suspect in custody.

The seek for Florida resident Carla Stefaniak got here to an finish Monday when police introduced they discovered a physique within the yard of the Airbnb the place she had stayed along with her sister-in-law for a birthday trip in San Antonio de Escazú, simply outdoors the capital metropolis of San Jose. Stefaniak was last heard from on the evening of Nov. 27 — the day earlier than her scheduled flight residence — however then disappeared, in response to a GoFundMe arrange by relations.

Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Division’s Common Director Walter Espinoza confirmed the arrest of 32-year-old Bismarck Espinosa Martinez, in response to ABC-7 in Tampa and different retailers. Authorities mentioned Espinosa Martinez labored as a safety guard on the complicated the place Stefaniak was staying, and lived within the residence subsequent to Stefaniak’s. Authorities additionally mentioned Stefaniak was killed inside her residence earlier than her partially nude body was dumped 1,000 feet from the Airbnb, in response to the Orlando Sentinel and different retailers.

The official explanation for demise was a stab wound to the neck, authorities mentioned. Stefaniak was additionally reportedly stabbed within the arms and suffered blunt trauma to the top. Police added that the crime was “sexually” motivated.

Authorities mentioned Espinosa Martinez initially instructed police he helped Stefaniak pack her baggage right into a taxi at round 5 a.m. on Nov. 28 however then modified his story, main police to observe up. They added that Espinosa Martinez, a Nicaraguan native dwelling in Costa Rica since June, remains to be thought of a suspect and that the investigation is ongoing.

“The particular person detained for the murder was close to her, had probabilities to commit the act and have become a suspect by all our investigation.” Espinoza mentioned.

Stefaniak’s household confirmed her demise on Facebook. In accordance with the web page “Discovering Carla”, arrange when Stefaniak was nonetheless thought of lacking, her father recognized her physique on Wednesday night time shortly earlier than midnight.

“It’s now official,” the submit mentioned. “Phrases can’t categorical the devastation inside her household and pals. We wish the world to know that we’ll always remember Carla. We’ll always remember the enjoyment she introduced into our lives, how a lot she made us snigger. We’ll all the time be along with her and we all know she is going to all the time be with us. Could God bless her soul.”

The household mentioned they may proceed to submit updates on the investigation and “proceed asking questions in regards to the involvement of others in Carla’s homicide.”

“We’ll be certain this case is just not closed like many others in Costa Rica.” the household posted.

Federico Jenkin, the lawyer representing the proprietor of the Airbnb, launched an announcement to ABC Action News saying they had been cooperating with authorities and shutting the villa as police proceed their investigation. In accordance with Jenkin, Villa Le Mas has been in operation since 2013 and obtained hundreds of visitors.

“We’re deeply saddened and devastated by the tragic occasions that occurred final week,” the assertion mentioned. “The house owners are absolutely cooperating with the authorities within the investigation and we hope that when the information are decided, the perpetrator is delivered to justice. Whereas the investigation is ongoing, and because the focus of the house owners is the consolation of our visitors, the power has been quickly closed.”

The villa, nonetheless obtainable to view on Trip Advisor, has largely favorable critiques, however some known as their keep a “nightmare” and “horrible.”

The homicide price within the nation of 4.9 million has been on the rise, with a record-high of 603 folks killed in 2017, Bloomberg reported. That’s a 63% enhance in comparison with 10 years in the past.

In accordance with the U.S. Commerce Division’s Nationwide Journey & Tourism Workplace, Costa Rica ranked 15th amongst worldwide locations for People, with greater than 1 million visiting in 2017. Nevertheless, tourism dipped in 2017 because the variety of American guests declined for the primary time since 2009.

“Crime is growing in Costa Rica and U.S. residents are frequent victims,” the U.S Embassy in Costa Rica said. “U.S. residents are inspired to train a excessive stage of warning and vigilance attributable to growing ranges of violent crime.”

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