Carla Stefaniak and Bismark Espinosa Martinez

‘How cold-hearted can you be?’: Brother of slain tourist Carla Stefaniak shook hands with suspected killer while searching for sister

When he learned his sister was missing, Carlos Caicedo Jr. few to Costa Rica to help find her. When he met a security guard who apparently seemed to eager help, Caneiro never would have guessed the man would eventually be arrested for her murder.

ABC10 News reports that Caicedo started his search on Sunday at the last place Carla (pictured left) was reportedly seen alive: the Airbnb Villa La Mas, in San Antonio de Escazú. Carla, 36, was staying in Apartment 8 before she disappeared. Security guard Bismark Espinosa Martinez (pictured right), 32, stayed in Apartment 7, next to Carla, and reportedly had no issues shaking the brother’s hand and claiming he saw Carla leave at 5 a.m. on November 28 in an Uber.

The Uber driver, however, told authorities he arrived at around 8 a.m. that morning to pick Carla up, but she was nowhere to be found.

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“We went to the villa. This guy shook our hands, looks us in the eyes, he tells his fake story,” Caicedo said. “And we couldn’t feel anything from this guy. Like, I just can’t believe it.”

A few days after meeting Caicedo, Martinez was arrested and charged with Carla’s murder after they found her deceased behind the Airbnb. She was partially nude, wrapped in plastic, and buried in a wooded area. According to Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department spokesperson, Walter Espinoza, Carla’s body was around 300 feet from the Airnbnb.

Authorities said Martinez contradicted himself numerous times when they questioned him and that he had the “time and space” to commit the crime. Authorities also found blood and fluid evidence inside Apartment 8, indicating Carla was likely killed inside the apartment she spent her last night at before she was scheduled to return to Miami.

“How cold-hearted can you be?” Caicedo asked. “And such a monster, because you have to be something else, man, to do something like this.”

Carla Stefaniak
Carla Stefaniak [Handout]

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Carla flew to Costa Rica for a six-day trip to celebrate her birthday. Her sister-in-law, April Burton, traveled with her, but left a day early for a prior engagement back home. Carla decided to spend an extra day in Costa Rica alone.

Espinoza said Carla lost her life due to a possible sexual assault. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on the details of the attack, but indicated the victim had been hit on the head and stabbed on the neck and arms. A medical examiner reportedly wrote that Carla died from the neck wounds.

According to police, Martinez, from Nicaragua, was an immigrant to Costa Rica, and had been staying there since June. Authorities indicated that he was working at the Airbnb without proper documentation. The Airbnb management is said to be cooperating with law enforcement.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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[Feature Photo: Carla Stefaniak, Handout/Bismark Espinosa Martinez, Facebook]