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Florida woman celebrating birthday in Costa Rica disappears

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By Tim Stelloh

A Florida woman on a birthday trip to Costa Rica disappeared last week during which her family is described as suspicious circumstances.

Carla Stefaniak, of Hallandale Beach, Florida, had traveled to Central America with her sister-in-law to celebrate Stefaniak’s 36th birthday, her brother Mario Caicedo said in an interview on Sunday.

Stefaniak checked in for his 28th 28-year return trip at any time within 24 hours of departure. But she turned out to board the plane, he told NBC News.

“She had been ready to come home but she did not,” Caicedo said. “That means someone has kidnapped her or abducted her.”

Carla Stefaniak, 36, Hallandale Beach, Florida. via Facebook

Caicedo said that Costa Rica law enforcement agency Organismo de Investigación Judicial investigates Stefania’s disappearance. The agency did not respond immediately to a request requesting comments.

Caicedo said that his family also has contact with the United States Embassy in Costa Rica. No one could be reached immediately for comments.

Stefaniak planned to leave the day after his sister’s flight, according to a timeline for Stefaniak’s last day in Costa Rica to NBC News. The timeline shows that Stefaniak released his sister-in-law and rented a car at San Jose Airport on November 27th before traveling to the city with a Uber driver.

After Stefaniak returned to Airbnb where she lived that night, she sent a message to Whatsapp saying there was heavy rain. The list of Airbnb sheets appears to have been deleted.

“The power went off,” she wrote at that time, according to the timeline. “Super sketchy.”

During a FaceTime conversation with a friend, Stefaniak mentioned that she could ask a security guard on Airbnb to buy her water because of the storm, says the timeline.

She was at WhatsApp 8: 20:00, then her phone killed at 21 and she has not posted online since.

Stefaniak, who sells insurance in Hallandale Beach, north of Miami, is one of four siblings, Caicedo said. He described her so frankly and socially – the kind of person who would have checked all birthday messages published on social media.

“She never came back online to check all these birthday wishes,” he said. “This is one thing telling us that she was abducted.”

Rima Abdelkader contributed.

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