Tourist’s killing ‘sexually motivated’
The killing of Florida tourist Carla Stefaniak in Costa Rica was sexually motivated, according to local authorities.
Walter Espinoza, director general of the country's Judicial Investigation Department, said the motive was "sexual" during a press conference, reports the New York Post.
He also released new information about suspect Bismark Espinosa Martinez, including how he contradicted himself in statements to police.
Security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez, 32, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with her murder. Stefaniak's body was found half naked and covered in plastic bags in the back of the San Jose property on Monday.
Stefaniak told a friend in a FaceTime call last Tuesday - when she disappeared - that she was planning to meet up with the guard to ask him to purchase water because there was a storm approaching.
Stefaniak also told her sister-in-law in a text the Airbnb was "pretty sketchy". She said it was raining and the power was going out.
Martinez, a Nicaraguan security guard, reportedly told investigators that he last saw Stefaniak at the Airbnb where he works on November 28 - getting into an Uber with her luggage early that morning.
He claimed to have helped her load her stuff into the vehicle before seeing her off, but authorities said surveillance video contradicted this.
Forensic evidence found at the scene, including traces of blood, showed that Stefaniak was attacked inside the Airbnb apartment where she was staying. The woman had travelled to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday, according to relatives.
Her family was finally allowed to see her body late Tuesday night - more than 15 hours after it was found.
"Words cannot express the devastation within her family and friends," her relatives said in a statement.
"We want the world to know that we will never forget Carla. We will never forget the joy she brought into our lives, how much she made us laugh. We will always be with her and we know she will always be with us. May god bless her soul."