The man suspected of the crime is a Nicaraguan who was the security guard at the Villa where the victim had been staying.
/ Ministry of Security and A.M. Costa Rica wire services


-Published: Thursday, January 9, 2020

Trial in murder of U.S. citizen Carla Stefaniak's to start this month

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The trial for the murder of the U.S. citizen Carla Stefaniak was announced to start on Monday, Jan. 27, at the Criminal Court in Pavas west of San José.

According to the case, the victim's father and the owners of the villa where Ms. Stefaniak's body was found are among the witnesses to testify at the trial.

In February the Prosecutor's Office opened the file on the murder case of Stefaniak, who was killed  Nov. 28, 2018. Her body was found  Dec. 3, 2018, in a wooded area near the villa in Escazú in San José, where she had been staying.

The opening of the evidentiary file was in the Pavas Criminal Court in the presence of the lawyers of the victim's family, José Rivera and David Hernández. Also attending were specialists in forensics and the suspect of the crime, a man with the surnamed of Espinoza-Martínez.

After attending court session, attorney David Hernandez said that among the evidence included was the suspect's cell phone where lawyers will have access to see a file of  "photos, recorded messages, written messages and videos."

The man suspected of the crime is a Nicaraguan who was the security guard at the Villa. According to the prosecution’s thesis, the motive for the murder was a sexual attack. Espinoza-Martínez is in pre-trial detention.

Carlos Caicedo, Stefaniak's father, held a press conference in December 2018 when he was in Costa Rica, where he said that he hopes that justice will be done and that those responsible for the murder will be punished.

"The police investigation does not comfort me in any way, but I want the authorities of this government, specifically the courts of justice, to catch those responsible for this abominable and terrible crime," said Caicedo.

Also in January 2019, the Municipality of Escazú confirmed that the villa where the victim had been staying and where her body was found was closed because the owner does not have the necessary permits allowing them to run the B&B to offer accommodations to tourists.

Carlos Bejarano, the spokesperson of the municipality, confirmed, "the place had not updated the legal license to offer tourism services since 2013. So it was closed."


Are tourists an easy target for criminals in Costa Rica?
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


Next:   With U.S. P-3 plane alert alleged drug traffickers captured on Pacific Coast    Continue reading