Family fears Hallandale Beach woman who disappeared in Costa Rica was abducted

Carla Stefaniak, 36, hasn't been heard from since Tuesday

Carla Stefaniak traveled to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday.
Carla Stefaniak traveled to Costa Rica to celebrate her 36th birthday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The family and friends of a Hallandale Beach woman fear she was abducted after she failed to return from a vacation to Costa Rica last week.

Her family said Carla Stefaniak, 36, disappeared before the final day of a trip to the Central American country to celebrate her birthday. Stefaniak's sister-in-law, April Burton, joined Stefaniak on the trip but planned to leave a day before her.

Stefaniak booked a room using AirBnB for her final night and family members said they last heard from her on Tuesday evening. Stefaniak told them the power had gone out during a rainstorm.

Her family grew concerned after Stefaniak stopped responding to text messages.

“You want to stay positive, but there’s no explanation to why she shouldn't reach out to someone,” Burton told "Good Morning America."


Laura Jamie, a friend and former roommate, said Stefaniak was an avid user of social media and rarely goes without posting. Jamie said her phone has not been used since Tuesday, which has led her family and friends to believe she has kidnapped.

"Knowing her, she is very attached to her phone," Jamie said. "And it wasn't like she was in the jungle. She was at an AirBnB."

AirBnB said it is cooperating with local authorities to help find Stefaniak. The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica and the FBI is also assisting with the case, her family said. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has also offered to help the family.

Carlos Caicedo, Stefaniak's brother, has traveled to Costa Rico to help find his sister.

"I didn't have the chance to tell her that I love her," Caicedo said. "I guess I can say, 'I love you sister and I know we're going to get you very soon.'"