A tourist has vanished in Costa Rica after sending a concerning final text.
36-year-old Carla Stefaniak who’s from Miami, Florida, disappeared from the Central American country on November 28 – the day she was due to leave – after spending a birthday trip there with her sister-in-law, April Burton.
April returned from the trip one day earlier than Carla and last saw the missing woman when she was dropped off at the airport on November 27.
According to the BBC, the 36-year-old then took an Uber from the airport to do some sightseeing around San Jose, before she was dropped back at the AirBnB the two women had been staying at in the San Jose suburb of Escazu.
Carla had booked a flight for November 28 – her birthday – which she’d already checked in for and scheduled an Uber for. However, her family later learned she never boarded the plane.
Speaking to Fox News, April explained about how she regretted leaving her sister-in-law ahead of her birthday:
It was her birthday, and it makes me feel really bad. I do feel guilty because I left early.
No one has heard from Carla since November 27, though the AirBnB owner informed Carla’s family she’d been seen getting into an Uber with her luggage at around 5am on November 28. However, Carla’s Uber records show no mention of the ride.
The missing woman’s family have stated they don’t believe the owner of the AirBnB, and are sure Carla has been abducted and is in danger.
None of us really believe this 5 am story because it really doesn’t make sense. We know she was abducted. There’s no reason for her not to contact anyone.
On the day April left, Carla had been actively messaging friends and family before she sent her final text at around 9pm local time.
Carla explained to the person she was texting that she was at the AirBnB and it was raining hard outside.
She wrote that the power in the accommodation had gone out, adding the final sentence:
It’s pretty sketchy here.
Carla’s family have set up a Facebook page to provide updates on the search, and April posted a lengthy message to State Department Officials asking for their help.
Her post read:
Carla Stefaniak’s life is in imminent danger. The local officials and US Embassy in Costa Rica will not pursue the matter because they feel she was rational at the time of her disappearance and got into a taxi of her own free will.
However, she checked into her flight but never boarded the plane. It indicates she was willingly trying to leave the country. She has not been in contact with anyone since November 27th, nor has she used social media or Uber which is part of her daily pattern.
The family has flown to Costa Rica looking for answers and has initiated a sustained social media campaign to find her.
Hopefully Carla will be found safe and well.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.