TAMPA (FOX 13) - It's been almost a week since friends and family have reported speaking with former Tampa resident Carla Stefaniak. The 36-year-old was in Costa Rica celebrating her birthday with her sister-in-law. She was due to return home Wednesday; now Stefaniak's family is convinced she was abducted.
Stefaniak's brother, Mario Caicedio, flew to Costa Rica to help search for his sister.
"We are all destroyed, we are trying to be strong," he said in an interview Sunday evening.
April Burton, Stefaniak's sister-in-law, flew home a day early. She says the last time she saw her friend was when she dropped her off at the airport.
"It was her birthday, and it makes me feel really bad. I do feel guilty because I left early," she said.
According to friends, Stefaniak paid an Uber driver to tour her around San Jose and later checked into an Airbnb. She called a friend from the home to tell them she was going to ask the guards at the Airbnb to buy her a bottle of water. That is the last time friends and family spoke with her.
The owner of the Airbnb told family members she was seen getting into an Uber with luggage around 5 a.m. on Wednesday, but Stefaniak's Uber records don't list a transaction.
"None of us really believe this 5 a.m. story because it really doesn't make sense," Burton said. "We know she was abducted. There's no reason for her not to contact anyone."
Caicedio remains in Costa Rica, searching for his sister.
Authorities have yet to release any information about the investigation.