COSTA RICA -- A missing Florida woman was killed in Costa Rica, the country's Judicial Investigation Department says.
Carla Stefaniak's body was partially naked and buried in dirt about 300 to 400 meters from the Airbnb villa where she had been staying, investigators announced at a Wednesday news conference.
Authorities believe a cut to her neck was the cause of death, but decay is making their investigation more challenging. Fingerprints and dental records were used to help identify Stefaniak, who investigators think had been dead for days.
"I wouldn't want anyone to have to come see a body in a state of decomposition," said Stefaniak's father, Carlos Caicedo, during the news conference.
Detectives believe the motive for her homicide was sexual, but they did not describe why.
The medical examiner said lesions and contusions were found on Stefaniak's head, along with cuts on her face.
Blood was reportedly found in the villa.
"My daughter came to (Costa Rica) to be a tourist," Caicedo said. "She was murdered and she was murdered in the worst way. It was bloody."
Late Tuesday, Costa Rican authorities arrested 32-year-old security guard Bismarck Espinoza Martinez in connection with the case. They said he was living a few units down from where Stefaniak was visiting.
Investigators first learned Stefaniak was missing on Nov. 28.
"My daughter may have been born at the same time that she died," Caicedo said. "Let me explain. She was born on the 28 November of 1982 around 12:30 or 1 o’clock in the morning. And it’s possible that she died at the same time 36 years later.
"If not around the same time her mother was in labor."
The investigation into Stefaniak's death is ongoing.
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