Department of State

Family of Florida Woman Slain in Costa Rica Sues Airbnb, Resort Owners

Authorities in Costa Rica say a security guard at the Villa le Mas resort killed 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak

Relatives of a 36-year-old Florida woman slain in Costa Rica are suing Airbnb and the resort where she was vacationing when she died.

Carla Stefaniak's family filed the lawsuit Thursday in Hillsborough County, Florida. The Tampa Bay Times reports the lawsuit says the Villa le Mas resort and Airbnb failed to conduct a background check on a Nicaraguan security guard who was in Costa Rica illegally.

Authorities in the Central American country say the guard, Bismark Espinoza Martinez, killed Stefaniak on Nov. 28 after she returned alone to the apartment she rented through Airbnb in the San Jose neighborhood of San Antonio de Escazú.

Airbnb has removed Villa le Mas from its rental properties website. Villa Le Mas' attorney has said the resort's owners are cooperating with investigators.

The lawsuit says both companies also failed to alert customers to U.S. State Department warnings about violent crime in Costa Rica.

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.

A partially buried body was found in the woods near that resort close to a week later, which was identified by Stefaniak’s father. An autopsy revealed that Stefaniak suffered a blunt force wound to the head and cuts on the neck and arms.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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