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Man arrested in connection with Carla Stefaniak's death not charged with 1st-degree murder

Posted at 11:07 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 02:59:20-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Carla Stefaniak’s family tells ABC Action News authorities recently told them the man arrested in connection to Stefaniak's murder would be charged with simple homicide, which is similar to our law of 2nd-degree murder.

“We want him to get the maximum penalty the Costa Rican law allows,” Mario Caicedo, Stefaniak’s brother said. “There’s so much things to this crime that would make anybody think this is first-degree murder.”

Stefaniak disappeared from her Airbnb on November 28. A few days later, on December 3, authorities found a body near her Airbnb.


Authorities confirmed her identity the next day and arrested a security guard Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, 32. He was taken into custody on December 4.

Right now, Martinez is the sole suspect in Stefaniak’s slaying. Martinez was a guard at the property in the San Jose suburb of Escazu where Stefaniak was staying. He lived in the room next to hers.

“We know this is not going to change anything, but we want this monster to be in jail for as much time as possible,” Caicedo said. “Not only him, but we believe there is more people involved in this crime, because, we find it hard to believe nobody saw or heard anything while she was being attacked. That is the other aspect of the investigation we want to put some pressure on.”

Caicedo said the family is using social media working to generate renewed interest in the case and pressure Costa Rican authorities to charge Martinez with the harshest penalty possible.

“What we want to do is just spread the word about what’s happening in Costa Rica,” Caicedo said. “Unfortunately, American authorities don’t have any jurisdiction in Costa Rica, so all we can do is spread the word and make this new viral to put some pressure on Cost Rican authorities to do a better job.”

If convicted, the 2nd-degree murder charge that Caicedo said Costa Ricans called “simple homicide” carries a 12 to an 18-year prison sentence.