U.S. News

Saudi sisters found dead in Hudson River were alive when they entered

By Daniel Uria   |   Oct. 31, 2018 at 8:23 PM
Investigators said two Saudi sisters who were found dead in the Hudson River were alive when they entered the water. Photo courtesy Chief Dermot F. Shea/Twitter

Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Investigators in New York said two Saudi sisters found dead in the Hudson River last week were alive when they entered the water.

The New York Police Department said the sisters, 22-year-old Rotana Farea and 16-year-old Tala Farea, were dressed similarly in black leggings and fur-trimmed jackets, with their feet and ankles bound together by duct tape when they were found in the river. The cause of their death remained unclear.

"At this point in time it has still has not been determined a homicide," NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said.

Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma on the sisters' bodies when they were found along the riverbank, CNN reported.

The Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in New York said Tuesday the sisters were Saudi citizens and students who were accompanying their brother in Washington, D.C.

Tala Farea had been missing from Fairfax, Va., since Aug. 24, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Shea said detectives had been in Virginia interviewing family members to determine "what was going on in the two young ladies' lives."

"We're looking at a two-month gap," Shea said. "The detectives' work has filled in many of the pieces, but there's still some gaps that we would like to fill in and get a real clear picture of what happened in the last two months."

The consulate contacted the sisters' family and appointed an attorney to follow the investigation. The Saudi Embassy in Washington called their mother to inform her that they had applied for asylum in the United States.