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The Latest: Florida woman slain in Costa Rica a ‘happy soul’

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — The Latest on the Florida woman who was found slain in Costa Rica (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

A friend of a Florida woman who was slain while on vacation in Costa Rica says his friend was a “happy soul” who made everyone laugh and had a large social media presence.

Carla Stefaniak was found dead near her Airbnb rental on Monday. She’d checked in on Nov. 27 into the Villa le Mas, near San Jose, and was supposed to return to Florida the next day.

Friend Bugra Demirel of Tallahassee said in a telephone interview that the 36-year-old insurance agent, loved to travel and post photos on Instagram.

For her birthday, she and her sister-in-law decided to visit Costa Rica for a short trip.

Her last Instagram photo was Nov. 25. It featured her in a turquoise bathing suit, lying near a pool with tropical plants in the background. She wrote, “I’m going to miss the place.”

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1:15 p.m.

Airbnb says it has removed the vacation rental listing in Costa Rica where a woman was staying when she was slain.

Carla Stefaniak of Florida spent the night at the Villa le Mas, near San Jose, on Nov. 27. Her family reported her missing when she didn’t return home. Her body was found Monday.

A resort security guard has been arrested in connection with her death.

According to its listing on TripAdvisor, the Villa le Mas is a compound with seven vacation apartments.

Villa Le Mas’s attorney, Federico Jenkins, said the owners are cooperating with the authorities in the investigation.

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6 a.m.

The father of a Florida woman who went missing while celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica has identified her body, found near the villa she rented.

A posting on the “Finding Carla” Facebook page says Costa Rican authorities allowed the family to view her body, which was found Monday half-buried and covered in plastic near the Airbnb villa that Carla Stefaniak of Miami Beach had rented last month.

The Tampa Bay Times reports an autopsy found stab wounds on her arms and neck, and the cause of death was determined to be a blow to the head.

On Tuesday Costa Rican officials arrested 32-year-old Bismark Espinosa Martinez, a guard at the Villa Buena Vista resort near San Jose, Costa Rica. Investigators say blood was found in his nearby apartment.

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