Costa Rica

Security Guard Convicted in Tourist’s Murder in Costa Rica Sentenced to Prison

The security guard convicted in the murder of a South Florida woman while she was on vacation in Costa Rica was sentenced Monday to 16 years in prison.

Bismarck Espinosa Martínez was convicted in the November 2018 murder of 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak. A judge in San José, Costa Rica, also ordered Martínez to pay $50,000 in damages to Stefaniak's family.

Authorities say Martínez killed Stefaniak on November 28, 2018 after she returned alone to the apartment she rented through Airbnb in the San José neighborhood of San Antonio de Escazú.

Martínez, who was a security guard for the resort, attempted to rape Stefaniak and stabbed her when she tried to fight back, prosecutors said. Her body was found partially buried 200 feet from her rental. An autopsy revealed that Stefaniak suffered a blunt force wound to the head and cuts on the neck and arms.

Stefaniak was traveling with her sister-in-law when she was last heard from by her family on Nov. 27; she was scheduled to fly home the next day. While her sister-in-law flew home early, Stefaniak stayed but told friends it was “pretty sketchy” at the resort.

Stefaniak's family sued Airbnb and the Villa le Mas resort in December 2018 for failing to conduct a background check on Martínez, who they say came from Nicaragua to Costa Rica illegally.

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