Saudi sisters found bound in N.Y.C. were seeking asylum

Saudi sisters found bound in N.Y.C. were seeking asylum

- The NYPD is continuing to investigate the mysterious deaths of two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bound bodies washed up in New York City last week after arriving from Fairfax, Virginia, on September 1.

Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, had applied for political asylum in the United States and had not been seen by their family for nearly a year before their bodies were discovered by a passerby on Manhattan's west side on October 24.

Investigators say that there was likely no criminality in the mysterious deaths of two sisters found bound together on the banks of the Hudson River last month. Shea said police also relied on surveillance footage from up to six days before their bodies were found, which showed the sisters together alone and in good health, showing no sign of distress.

Police said they have credible sources that say the sisters expressed "they would rather commit suicide than return to Saudi Arabia".

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. Authorities have not ruled out other possibilities of death, and an investigation remains ongoing.

They came to the USA from Saudi Arabia with their mother in 2015 and Rotana Farea had been enrolled at George Mason University until this spring.

Shea added that the sisters were last seen by their family in Virginia on November 30 past year. Police sources told the New York Daily News the pair had been bound together and their sandals duct-taped to their feet.

"At this point in time, there is no credible information that a crime took place", NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at a news conference Friday afternoon.

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A cause of death in the case has not yet been determined.

The sisters were living until the summer in Fairfax, Virginia, although their mother had not seen them since they went missing from home in the city last December.

The two young women moved to NY two months before they died, where they stayed in five-star hotels and spent their time shopping.

Tala and Rotana moved to the USA from Saudi Arabia with their mother in 2015 and settled in Fairfax.

Saudi Arabia's Consulate General in NY said in a statement that it had "appointed an attorney to follow the case closely".

Police are trying to piece together information after two women were found dead along the Hudson River in NY. Shea did not elaborate on further details and reports of abuse, which he said are not corroborated at this time.

During the call, a Saudi embassy official instructed her family to leave the USA, due to the fact that her daughters had applied for political asylum, she claimed.

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