Costa Rican authorities finally allow family to identify body as Tampa native Carla Stefaniak

Carla was celebrating her birthday in Costa Rica
Posted at 11:02 PM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 05:06:25-05

Costa Rican authorities finally permitted the family of Tampa native Carla Stefaniak into the morgue to identify the body found on Monday.

In a post on Facebook, Carla's father confirmed the body is Carla. The family say it will continue to press Costa Rican officials for more information on who killed her.

On Monday, officials with Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) told ABC Action News that a body had been found on the Airbnb property where 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak had been staying.

OIJ officials tell ABC Action News the body was buried in a mountainous area located in the back of the property, roughly 1,000 feet away from where the 36-year-old Miami woman had been staying. OIJ agents had been searching the area with specialized dogs.

An autopsy was performed on the woman's body, they say that she had stab wounds around the neck and extremities and report blunt-force trauma to the head.

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OIJ officials say that the body appears to be Stefaniak however, they are unable to confirm that without fingerprinting. The FBI is involved to conduct those tests, according to OIJ agents. If fingerprinting does not work, they will make a DNA and dental comparison.

Law enforcement in Costa Rica had initially told Stefaniak's family members, who had flown down to Costa Rica to search for her, that they would be able to view and attempt to identify the body on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., but weren't allowed into the morgue until Tuesday night around 11:30 p.m.

ABC Action News' Michael Paluska and Isabel Rosales contributed to this report.