Florida Woman, 36, Vanishes While Celebrating Her Birthday in Costa Rica

Carla Stefaniak

Her brother has flown to the country to look for more answers.

A Florida woman who traveled to Costa Rica to celebrate her birthday has vanished, her family said. 

Carla Stefaniak, 36, of Hallandale Beach, had traveled to the country with her sister-in-law, April Burton, last week, but Burton left one day before her, she told CBS Miami. Stefaniak never made her flight the next day. 

Burton told the station she last heard from Stefaniak at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, who messaged her to say the power had gone out because it was raining heavily. She added in the message, “It’s pretty sketchy here.”

She also reportedly FaceTimed a friend, saying she was thirsty and was going to ask the security guards at the Airbnb to buy her a bottle of water. 

She hasn’t been heard from since, her family said. 

The family told the station they've contacted the owners of the Airbnb, an Uber driver Stefaniak had ridden with and the security guards at the Airbnb, who all said Stefaniak got into an unknown car early Wednesday morning with her luggage.

But the family is skeptical.

“None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story,” Burton told Fox13. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Burton also said Stefaniak had already arranged a driver to pick her up for the airport at 8:30 a.m. but when he arrived, he was told by the guards she’d left.

Her flight was not scheduled to leave until 1 p.m. that day, however. She checked into her flight but never got on the plane, her family said.

Her brother has flown to Costa Rica “looking for answers,” Burton wrote on her Facebook page. 

The family believes she was kidnapped. 

“It was her birthday,” Burton added to Fox13. “It makes me feel really bad. I do feel guilty because I left earlier.”

Authorities are investigating. Law enforcement officials have not commented. 

Uber said it is assisting authorities. Airbnb has not commented.