DAA Daily

Security guard charged with murder of young American in Costa Rica

By Roos Döll

Staff Reporter

The Pawprint


On Monday, December 3 a security guard Bismark Espinoza Martinez, was charged with the murder of Clara Stefaniak. She was reported missing on November 28, when she failed to return from her thirty-sixth birthday celebration in Costa Rica. Stefaniak was celebrating her birthday with her sister-in-law, April Burton, at an Airbnb in San Antonio de Escazú. The thirty-six-year-old was last heard of on 27 November when she dropped off Mrs. Burton at the airport, which was one day before her scheduled flight back to Florida.

Clara’s family immediately scheduled an international search warrant when they found out their daughter was not on her supposed to be a flight back home, as they feared she was kidnapped.

According to Walter Espinoza, a director for Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department, “… investigators first found blood scattered in her rented apartment and later found her body wrapped in plastic bags approximately 300 meters from the Airbnb she was staying at.” The police followed with, “…she was nude inside the plastic bags and stab wounds covered her entire body with an additional head trauma from a blow to the head.”  

The investigation ended on Monday, 3 December, said that Martinez was the security guard in the Airbnb, who lived next door to Stefaniak’s apartment and had been arrested for suspicion of killing the victim due to his skeptical answers in police interrogation.

He modified his answers twice from his original story of Clara’s disappearance which was, “I last saw Clara step in an Uber at 5 AM on 28 November, heading to the airport.” However, Martinez’s answers do not add up – Stefaniak’s flight was at midday and there was no record of her taking an Uber on that day.

Her family and friends are deeply saddened and in shock of their apparent daughter’s death and “words cannot express how much they will miss her.”  

Currently, the Airbnb is sealed off to protect the crime’s evidence and there is still no confirmation if Martinez is the murderer.

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