A body that has yet to be identified was found near an Airbnb where a Florida woman who was visiting the country vanished last week, authorities in Costa Rica said Monday.
The body — which was found partially buried in plastic bags — was discovered by cadaver dogs in back of the Airbnb, said Marisel Rodríguez Solís, spokeswoman for the agency investigating Carla Stefaniak's Nov. 27 disappearance.
In a recorded statement, the agency's director general, Walter Espinoza, said the decomposing body appeared to be a woman's, though it wasn't clear if it was Stefaniak.
The identity will be determined after the body is excavated and an autopsy is conducted, he said, adding that investigators found blood in the Airbnb where Stefaniak had stayed.
Stefaniak had been celebrating her 36th birthday in Costa Rica with her sister-in-law. Relatives have said she checked in for a return flight to Florida on Nov. 28 but never boarded the plane.
In an interview Sunday, Stefaniak's brother, Mario Caicedo, said he believed his sister had been kidnapped or abducted.
Caicedo said Monday that he had heard that a body was found but that the Organismo de Investigación Judicial — which is investigating Stefaniak's disappearance — had not yet told his family if the body was hers.
"We all remain very hopeful and very positive that she will be found alive and safe," he said.
Stefaniak was last heard from on the night of Nov. 27, after dropping off her sister-in-law at the San Jose airport earlier in the day. According to a timeline provided to NBC News, Stefaniak told a friend online that the power to her Airbnb cut out amid heavy rains.
"Super sketchy," she wrote on a WhatsApp group chat.
Shortly after, during a FaceTime call with a friend, Stefaniak said that she was thirsty and considered asking security guards at the Airbnb if they could buy her some water, according to the timeline.
A U.S. State Department official said Monday that the department was aware of a missing U.S. citizen in Costa Rica and is working with local authorities in their search efforts. Citing privacy concerns, the official declined to provide additional details.