(AP) — Relatives of a Florida woman slain in Costa Rica are suing Airbnb and the resort where she was vacationing when she died.
Carla Stefaniak’s two brothers, Mario Caicedo and Carlos Caicedo Jr., filed the lawsuit Thursday in Hillsborough County. The lawsuit alleges that the resort failed to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition and "to take reasonable care for the safety of Stefaniak and protect her from reasonably foreseeable criminal conduct."
Stefaniak's family is seeking $15,000 in damages against Airbnb and the resort.
Authorities in the Central American country say Nicaraguan security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez killed Stefaniak on Nov. 28 after she returned alone to the apartment she rented through Airbnb.
The lawsuit alleges that Martinez worked on behalf of Airbnb and Villa Les Mas and had full access to all of the rental units at the resort. It also says Martinez' apartment was right next to the unit rented by Stefaniak.
The lawsuit also says the Villa Le Mas resort and Airbnb failed to conduct a background check on Martinez, who was in Costa Rica illegally.
Airbnb has removed Villa Le Mas from its rental properties website. Villa Le Mas’ attorney has said the resort’s owners are cooperating with investigators.
The lawsuit says the property is a 7-unit building in a secluded area of San Jose, about 15 minutes from shopping and restaurants and has "limited supervision and oversight." Online, both Villa Le Mas and Airbnb promoted that the location comes with a qualified 24/7 security guard.
The lawsuit claims that Airbnb misrepresented the quality of the resort by deleting negative reviews and posting only positive and complimentary ones. "There are and were multiple reports since 2013 of guests who encountered bad experiences and recounted being victimized by personnel affiliated with the resort," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says both companies also failed to alert customers to U.S. State Department warnings about violent crime in Costa Rica. Earlier this year, The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica said crime is rising in the country and that U.S. citizens are frequent victims, the lawsuit says.
►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.