Saudi sisters' mystery death: Pair 'were alive' when they entered river

Geraldine Edwards
November 1, 2018

Last week, their bodies were discovered on the shore of a New York City waterfront-bound in tandem with tape and facing one other.

The New York City police described in detail how 16-year-old Tala Farea and her 22-year-old sister, Rotana Farea, were discovered.

The Virginia-based mother said the Saudi embassy in Washington called her on October 23 alerting her that the family's residence in America was in jeopardy because of the asylum applications, reported the New York Post.

Police released a sketch of the two women found laying on rocks near the Hudson River off of Riverside Park.

NY police were still trying to piece together on Wednesday a mystery over two young women whose bodies were discovered a week ago on the rocky Manhattan shore of the Hudson River, bound together with duct tape around their waists and ankles.

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Arab News tried reaching the mother of Tala and Rotana for comment but couldn't reach her, and understands that she is in no condition to talk to the media. NYPD Chief Detective Dermot Shea told reporters on Wednesday that detectives have gone to Virginia and interviewed family and associates.

They were pronounced dead at the scene along the riverbanks on Manhattan's Upper West Side, police said.

In August they were reported missing.

At a briefing Wednesday, police said the medical examiner determined the sisters were alive when they entered the water.

"We're looking at a two-month gap", Shea said, referring to the time since Tala was reported missing. "We are out to get justice for those two girls and find out exactly what happened".

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Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left earlier this year.

A post on the center's website noted that Tala might have been with Rotana.

The statement added that the embassy has appointed an attorney to follow the case closely. A George Mason spokesman called the news of her death "tragic", and said the university was cooperating with police.

When they were found, they reportedly asked for police protection and were placed in a homeless shelter. Rotana Farea had been enrolled at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, but left in the spring and may have moved to NY at some point, according to media reports.

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