Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Body found during search for U.S. tourist missing in Costa Rica

Body found during search for U.S. tourist missing in Costa Rica

According to OIJ, Martinez became the prime suspect after he gave authorities contradictory accounts.

Authorities added an autopsy confirmed that Stefaniak's cause of death was due to head, neck, and other injuries.

Espinoza said all data gathered indicates the body is Stefaniak's; however, investigators are waiting to compare fingerprints from the body with Federal Bureau of Investigation records and noted dental and DNA records may be used to definitively identify the body as Stefaniak if fingerprints are not conclusive. A positive identification has not been made.

"In her apartment, we found blood", Espinosa said.

"The guards (at the apartment complex that housed the Airbnb) told us that she left at 5 in the morning with all of her bags and got into an Uber she wouldn't do that her flight was at 1:30 p.m. she's never been early for anything in her life she wouldn't leave to go to the airport at 5:30 a.m.", Burton told ABC Action News.

"Six o'clock, still haven't heard from her", Burton said. Costa Rican officials told ABC Action News that the body, which also appeared to have stab wounds, was still awaiting forensic identification, a process in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation would assist. "We don't 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 last time her family heard from her was the night of November 27 when she texted her sister-in-law that the lights were going on and off. Stefaniak booked a room using Airbnb for her final night.

Before the news broke, Stefaniak's family and friends held out hope she was still alive. Officials turned them away, saying they needed more time. 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".

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Speaking Monday to HLN, CNN's sister network, Burton described her sister-in-law as "a great person".

The night prior to her flight, Stefaniak took an Uber ride around the town and was dropped off at her Airbnb.

When Jaime got to the airport around 5pm, she went inside to wait for her friend.

"As far as we know, she came out at 5am, the security guard opened the gate".

Burton added: "For nearly six days to go by and no contact, she would have to have been abducted".

Ms Stefaniak was staying at an Airbnb in the San Antonio de Escazu neighbourhood when she messaged her sister-in-law April Burton that the power had cut out amid torrential rain on November 27.

An Airbnb representative said the company is cooperating with local authorities in Costa Rica.

"None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story because it really doesn't make sense", Burton told Tampa's Fox 13 News. It is the same location where Stefaniak checked-in last Tuesday. US Embassy in Costa Rica and Federal Bureau of Investigation is already alerted.

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