The body found near an Airbnb villa in Costa Rica is believed to be that of 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak, the country's authorities said in a statement.
However, Walter Espinoza of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department says the agency continues to wait for a positive identification. It has asked the U.S. FBI to make the definitive confirmation using dental records and a fingerprint.
Law enforcement also announced 32-year-old security guard Bismarck Espinoza Martinez has been arrested in connection to the case. Martinez was staying a few apartment units over from where Stefaniak was visiting, the spokesman said.
In speaking with authorities during their investigation, the guard became their suspect given his conflicting stories. The stories also did not match security footage from the Airbnb, authorities said.
Mario Caicedo, Stefaniak's brother, told 10News her father has not seen the body yet, and the family continues to hold out hope it is not her.
"The family has yet to see the body and they were in the process of securing dental records for the examiners!" reads a post on the Finding Carla page on Facebook. "We dont know why the media is announcing the identity of the body or what Costa Rica officials are trying to do by not allowing the family to view the remains BEFORE announcing anything.
"The family has not confirmed the identity by viewing or providing DNA samples."
Several media outlets, citing Costa Rica authorities, reported Monday the finding of a body near the vacation property. It was found partially buried and inside plastic outside of San Jose, Costa Rica, CBS Miami confirmed.
Authorities said an autopsy would be performed to identify the body.
The family of the 36-year-old woman traveled to the Central American country Tuesday to help make an identification. They were not able to see her and were told to wait in their hotel.
“Every single hour they are waiting is a tremendous amount of stress on the family,” friend Bugra Demirel told 10News.
Stefaniak's family last heard from her at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, increasingly growing concerned when she didn’t show up for a 1 p.m. flight back to Broward County, Florida, the following day. Her sister-in-law, April Burton, told CBS News the last text she received from Stefaniak was: “It’s pretty sketchy here.”
CBS News also reports Stefaniak’s brother said he was told by the Airbnb owner a security guard watched his sister get into a car with her bags to head to the airport.
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