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Old 12-05-2018, 05:32 PM
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Default Miami woman's murder in Costa Rica may have been sexually-motivated

https://abcnews.go.com/International...ry?id=59608650

American woman's murder in Costa Rica may have been sexually-motivated: Officials

Dec 5, 2018, 4:11 PM ET

An American woman was stabbed to death in Costa Rica in what investigators suspect was a sexually-motivated attack, officials said Wednesday.

The new details in the heinous slaying of Carla Stefaniak, 36, of Miami came a day after a security guard at the hostel where she was staying during her last night in Costa Rica was arrested in connection with her death.

Stefaniak was killed in an apartment she was staying in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, and her partially-nude body was found covered in dirt nearby
, officials said at a news conference Wednesday.



Walter Espinoza, director of Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department said investigators found traces of blood throughout the apartment where they believe Stefaniak was killed. Officials said that a preliminary assessment indicated that the killer's motivation was sexual, but additional tests are being conducted to confirm that theory.

Stefaniak's father, Carlos Caicedo, told ABC affiliate station WFTS-TV in Tampa that he believes his daughter died trying to defend herself.

"I guess that Carla fought," Caicedo said, adding that he gathered from her injuries that the struggle with her killer "was long."

Stefaniak's badly decomposed body was identified Tuesday through fingerprints and dental records, officials said. An autopsy found that she was stabbed in the neck, that her neck was broken and that she suffered trauma to the head.

On Tuesday, investigators in Costa Rica arrested Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, 32, in connection with Stefaniak's slaying.

While Martinez has not been charged in Stefaniak's death, Espinoza called him "a suspect."

He said Martinez is from Nicaragua and has an "irregular" immigration record.

Stefaniak was last heard from on Nov. 27, the night before her 36th birthday, her family told ABC News. She traveled to Costa Rica on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate her birthday with her sister-in-law, April Burton, but decided to stay an extra day after Burton returned to Florida on Nov. 27, the family said.

Martinez lived in the room next to Stefaniak's at the hostel, officials said. He was arrested after testimony he gave investigators didn't match surveillance footage or other witness statements, Espinoza. Martinez had been in the country since June, Espinoza said.

An autopsy conducted on Stefaniak determined the cause of death as "stab wounds around the neck and extremities," Espinoza said. The body also had a blunt force trauma injury to the head.

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