Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Saudi sisters in NYC since Sept. 1 after other stops

Saudi sisters in NYC since Sept. 1 after other stops

These two undated photos provided by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) show sisters Rotana, left, and Tala Farea, whose fully clothed bodies, bound together with tape and facing each other, were discovered on on the banks of New York City's Hudson River waterfront on October 24, 2018.

The pair, who moved to the U.S. state of Virginia from Saudi Arabia in 2015, had been missing since August.

At a press briefing held on Wednesday, police said the medical examiner was able to determine that the Farea sisters were alive before they entered the water.

The sisters had recently requested asylum in the United States without giving a reason for the application, the "New York Times" reported, citing police sources.

As per the Associated Press, the little girls have been identified as 16-year-old, Tala Farea, and 22-year-old, Rotana Farea, who lived in Fairfax, Virginia.

Their mother told detectives, according to the "New York Post", that the day before their bodies were discovered, she received a phone call from the Saudi embassy to tell her the family's residency in the USA was in jeopardy because her daughters had applied for immigration asylum. They say there were no obvious signs of trauma.

The case has received considerable media exposure in the aftermath of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

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"We are looking at all clues in their past life", Shea was quoted as saying.

New York City police sent a detective to Virginia to learn more about the sisters.

Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left in the spring.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Tala had been missing from Fairfax since August 24.

A spokesperson for the institute called the news of her death "tragic", and said the university was cooperating with police.

It added that embassy officials in Washington had contacted the family and "extended its support and aid in this trying time", and that the sisters were students "accompanying their brother in Washington". Police are investigating the possibilities of a suicide, but they're not ruling out murder.

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