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, revealed the motive during a press conference Wednesday covered by the Sun-Sentinel.
He also released new information about suspect Bismark Espinosa Martinez, including how he contradicted himself in statements to police.
Martinez, a Nicaraguan security guard, reportedly told investigators that he last saw Stefaniak at the Airbnb where he works on Nov. 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 traveled 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.”
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