Costa Rica journey considerations rise after vacationer’s killing

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A suspect within the case, Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, 32, is in custody, in line with Costa Rican officers. He labored as a safety guard on the Airbnb the place Stefaniak was staying.

Costa Rica had lengthy been spared the violence that plagued its Central American neighbors, however the nation has seen a soar in homicides in recent times. General crime additionally has spiked.

“Crime is rising in Costa Rica and US residents are frequent victims,” in line with the US Embassy web site. “US residents are inspired to train a excessive stage of warning and vigilance attributable to rising ranges of violent crime.”
In August, two vacationers from Mexico and Spain have been killed on completely different Costa Rican seashores, the Costa Rican information web site QCOSTARICA.com reported.
In 2017, the nation broke its file for reported homicides with 603, in line with InSight Crime, citing official sources. It attributed the rise partly to Costa Rica’s place as a transshipment level for Colombian cocaine destined for the US and Europe.

Costa Rican justice official Michael Soto informed reporters on the time that the speed of 12.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants was the very best within the nation’s historical past, with a couple of quarter of the deaths designated as drug associated. Costa Rica had 578 homicides in 2016.

Whereas the US State Division advises “regular precautions” — the bottom stage for security and safety danger — for Individuals touring to Costa Rica, it warns guests to extend warning in sure neighborhoods, noting violent crimes similar to homicides, armed robberies and assaults, with gang and narcotics exercise and restricted police presence.
“Criminals usually function in small teams, however may additionally function alone. Whereas most crimes are nonviolent, some criminals have proven a larger tendency in recent times to make use of violence,” the US Embassy stated.

Stefaniak was in Costa Rica to rejoice her 36th birthday, in line with kin.

{A partially} decomposed physique was discovered Monday about 300 yards from the residence advanced the place Stefaniak was staying in a province simply outdoors the nation’s capital of San Jose, stated Walter Espinoza, a spokesman with the nation’s Judicial Investigation Division.

Detectives who interviewed individuals who had contact with the suspect, Espinoza Martinez, earlier than Stefaniak went lacking on November 28 grew suspicious after they seen his statements have been contradictory, Espinoza, the federal government spokesman, informed reporters.

Florida woman visiting Costa Rica for her birthday has gone missingFlorida woman visiting Costa Rica for her birthday has gone missing

Espinoza Martinez had been staying within the residence subsequent to Stefaniak’s rental, the spokesman stated. The suspect is a Nicaraguan nationwide who has been in Costa Rica since June.

Espinoza Martinez was arrested Monday and is in jail as a result of he’s a flight danger, the spokesman stated.

An post-mortem on Stefaniak confirmed a number of stab wounds to the “neck and higher extremities,” in addition to blunt pressure trauma to the pinnacle, the spokesman stated.

Authorities additionally discovered stains contained in the residence the place Stefaniak was staying, “that are suitable with blood and which can be submitted to additional investigation and comparability,” he stated.

Family grew to become involved final week after Stefaniak stopped texting and phoning dwelling and was not on her return flight from Costa Rica.

April Burton, her sister-in-law, stated the 2 had gone to Costa Rica to rejoice Stefaniak’s birthday and had traveled collectively for six days, staying in seashore cities outdoors San Jose.

A day earlier than she went lacking, Stefaniak dropped Burton on the airport and returned their rental automotive.

Stefaniak opted then to remain at a hostel nearer to the airport earlier than her flight the subsequent day, her brother, Carlos Caicedo, informed WSVN.

Stefaniak and Burton had been texting one another by way of WhatsApp, Burton stated. Then, the messages stopped.

“We are going to ensure this case will not be closed like many others in Costa Rica,” stated a publish on a Fb web page that has been up to date by a household buddy.

CNN’s Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.



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