American Carla Stefaniak was visiting Costa Rica for her birthday with her sister-in-law April Antonieta.
Antonieta flew out of Costa Rica on Nov. 27. Stefaniak was supposed to fly out the next day, Thursday, Nov. 28. She was not on her flight and has been reported missing in the Central American country.
Stefaniak, who goes by Carla Margarita on Facebook and Instagram, drove Antonieta to the airport in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital. There she returned her rental car and caught an Uber. After a tour of the city, she was dropped off at her Airbnb. She spoke to Antonieta by phone and said it was raining hard and the lights had gone out in the house.
That was the last Antonieta heard from her sister-in-law and “best friend.”
Here’s what you need to know:
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1. Stefaniak Was Last Heard From as Power Went Out in Her Airbnb Rented Villa. She Described the Location as ‘Pretty Sketchy.’
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“I wish I never had to write this but my close friend and sister-in-law Carla Stefaniak (@Carla Margarita) just disappeared in Costa Rica. She took an @Uber around 1:00 p.m. from Thrifty car rental to her Airbnb. The Uber driver waited for her for approximately 50 minutes before taking her for a tour around San Jose,” Antonieta wrote.
Stefaniak arrived at the rental house between 4 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
“Last time we heard from her was on 11/27 around 8 pm when she said it was raining crazy and the power went out. She continued with “It’s pretty sketchy here”. She was staying at a villa she found on @airbnb. She had a flight next day (11/28) at 1:30 pm, but she never showed up. She has shown no sign of online presence since 11/27 at 8pm. US Embassy in Costa Rica and FBI is already alerted,” Antonieta wrote.
She said a missing person case was opened and U.S. authorities are working with local authorities in San Jose.
“Words cannot express how shocking and devastating this is to her family and her friends. If anyone can help us with this situation, it will be highly appreciated.”
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Stefaniak, who described herself on IG as a model, travel aficionado, photographer and fashion blogger, posted this image to Instagram on Nov. 22. She was traveling alone. But from her social, it appears she was very well-traveled and, her sister-in-law would be joining her.
The following day, on Nov. 23, she posted an image declaring she would be a “future resident of Costa Rica.” She visited Manual Antonio National Park.
On Nov. 26, Stefaniak posted another image to Instagram where she lamented that she would miss the country when she had to leave.
“Carlita, praying for you and your safe return. home to your loved ones! May God bless you and watch over you,” a person commented on the image.
It’s reported she stayed at Villa Buena Vista, Calle Hoja Blanca, San Antonio de Escazú in San Jose, Costa Rica. Airbnb says the listing is “no longer available.” There are many images of the location easily found online however. It appears that the resort of villas was once an “aftercare facility.” It was previously called Villa Le Mas. It was poorly reviewed on TripAdvisor several years ago. The now-deleted Airbnb listing has the host as a man named Raymond.
3. Authorities in Costa Rica Have Issued Missing Person Alerts & Posted on Social Media
#DesaparecidosOIJ: La persona de la fotografía se encuentra desaparecida pic.twitter.com/xx4FaC2171
— OIJ Organismo (@oij_Organismo) November 29, 2018
The Costa Rica News reported “Stefaniak was traveling alone in the country.” She was joined by her sister-in-law, however.
The paper reported that Stefaniak “…arrived November 22 and apparently visited the Manuel Antonio National Park and on the last days of her vacation she was staying at an AirBnB in San Antonio, Escazú.”
It was reported in Costa Rica that her family also filed a missing person report with the “Judiciary Investigative Police (OIJ) in Costa Rica the entity officially made the announcement of her disappearance today, any information regarding Carla Stefaniak can be given by calling the confidential line 800-800-0645 or through Whatsapp at 8800-0645.”
However, the U.S. Embassy in San Jose has not posted the disappearance of Stefaniak on its website or Twitter or Facebook.
4. Antoneita Created a GoFundMe to Help Pay For Carla’s Family’s Search in Costa Rica
April, of Riverview, Florida, created a GoFundMe page so Stefaniak’s family could travel to the country in search of her. Stefaniak is repoerted to be from Tampa, Florida. On her social media pages, she says she lives in Miami and is Venezuelan-American.
A number of poeple have suggested the family check out sites like the Missing Americans Project.
“Families of Americans who disappear in foreign countries should not have to invent the wheel. Unfortunately, this is what too often happens: people in deep distress have to learn how to run an international search and rescue operation, raise funds, cultivate relationships with nongovernmental organizations, and work with the media — all within hours of learning their loved one is missing. The absence of clear standard operating procedures within and among U.S. embassies and a lack of State Department support leads to an unconscionable waste of time when time is of the essence.”
5. For Her Birthday, Stefaniak Asked Friends to Donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Rather than receive gifts, Stefaniak asked her friends to consider donating money for a children’s hospital.
“For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal.”