NewsPinellas County


Family wants answers after Tampa man disappears during vacation in Costa Rica

Posted at 8:19 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 20:22:15-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- From her Clearwater apartment, thousands of miles away, Nancy Steffens is doing all she can to find her missing brother, Charlie Hughes.

“We are still digging. We are still searching. We are still hoping and praying that my brother is still alive,” Steffens said.

The 62-year-old has been gone since August 3 while vacationing in the Costa Rican city of Puerto Jimenez.

“It’s very heartbreaking for our family. We just lost our mother in June,” Steffens said.

Steffens says Charlie was a experienced traveler and he went to Costa Rica to spend time with a friend he’d just met on a previous visit there.

She believes that man knows something about what really happened.

“According to what I’ve been told, the FBI has questioned him. The police have questioned him,” she said.

Nancy does know her brother’s belongings were still in his hotel room.

His phone is missing and his rental car was found partially submerged in a nearby river.

She wonders if authorities in Costa Rica aren’t being as open because of fears the story would hurt tourism.

“We want the truth and we aren’t accepting all these lies, that we’ve been given," Steffens said. "All these stories that we’ve been given.”

Charlie’s family is now getting help from Florida congresswoman Kathy Castor’s office and the national organization, Texas Equsearch.

They say just want to know where he is.

“I put my faith in God and I'll just say I’m not giving up on my brother,” Steffens said.