The body was found partly buried in plastic bags in the back of the property, roughly 1,000 feet from where Stefaniak had been staying, officials said to WFTS-TV. Investigators say blood was found in his nearby apartment. Greg Zwolinski, a friend of the family, who was in Costa Rica trying to communicate with the authorities, said the family's requests had been rejected twice.
Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department confirmed the discovery Monday, but had not identified the remains as Carla Stefaniak, 36, of Hallandale Beach, according to NBC Miami affiliate WTVJ.
Stefaniak dropped off her rental auto at a Thrifty vehicle Rental business after dropping off her sister-in-law. Later, at 8:30 am, an Uber came the pick her up but the guard at that time told him she had already left, based on what the overnight guard said. They went there to celebrate Stefaniak's 36th birthday. "Her mom is absolutely devastated".
She was later dropped off by the same Uber driver and sent a photo of the place she was staying at to her sister-in-law.
"Hope is the last thing you've got to lose", she said.
That same night, she was Facetiming with a friend in NY when the call dropped about 9pm. She didn't show up for her 1 p.m. flight home on November 28.
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The two texted each other via WhatsApp throughout the day that Tuesday, Burton said, until Stefaniak suddenly stopped responding to her messages that evening. He said he suspected foul play from the start. "Everything is gone. She left with everything on hand". "There was something fishy about that story to begin with", he said.
A Facebook page set up by friends of the missing woman said family members went to the morgue in San Jose on Tuesday to identify the body, but were turned away by local authorities.
Stefaniak missed her flight home November 28, one day after she was last seen in a villa in San Antonio de Escazu outside the capital of San Jose.
The State Department is working on the case and are awaiting the results of an autopsy. To BBC, he said, "It's a disgusting wait, and every single minute that Costa Rican officials are not showing the body is just a tremendous amount of pain on the family". He apparently contradicted his own account to police and then became a person of interest in the investigation, WSVN reported.
The man, who is a Nicaraguan national, was staying in the apartment next to Stefaniak's rental. We have received over a thousand guests with wonderful reviews about the property and our service. "We are deeply saddened and devastated by the tragic events that occurred last week". "The resolution of this case is very important for the country, for the victim's family, and for society as a whole".
In the meantime, the owners have temporarily closed their vacation rentals.