Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A Florida woman who was killed in Costa Rica had to be cremated because she died in a foreign country, her family said.
Carla Stefaniak of Miami disappeared Nov. 28 and triggered a search after she didn't board her return flight to Florida. Her body was found Monday.
Father Carlos Caicedo said Thursday the family had hoped to have a funeral mass and burial for Stefniak, but she was cremated because she died in another country. He wasn't sure where her ashes will be scattered.
"We want to thank each and every single person that supported us in our mission," the family added Thursday in a Facebook post. "[Carla] brought people together and she was always there for each one of us in one way or another, big or small, she was a true friend."
A security guard, Bismark Espinoza Martinez, is suspected of killing Stefaniak, officials said. He's a Nicaraguan national who's lived in Costa Rica since June.
Authorities found Stefaniak's body in a wooded area of San Antonio de Escazu five days after she disappeared. An autopsy showed multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head, police said.
"The initial appearance is that it was sexually motivated," Investigations Department General Director Walter Espinoza said.
Stefaniak traveled to Costa Rica Nov. 22 with her sister-in-law to celebrate her 36th birthday. The sister-in-law flew back alone and Stefaniak was supposed to return the following day. In her last text message to family, she said she was thirsty and would ask a security guard for water.
"Are we done here? We are not. In the following days, we will release critical digital leads of the investigation, continue asking questions about the involvement of others in Carla's murder," the family posted on Facebook. "We will make sure this case is not closed like many others in Costa Rica."