Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Police release recent photos of Saudi sisters found dead in NYC river

2 bound bodies found in NYC were missing Virginia sisters Relatives of dead Saudi sisters reject suicide reports
Charlie Simmons | 01 November, 2018, 05:41

Two sisters whose bodies were found bound together were Saudi nationals who may have been seeking asylum in the US.

"The embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. has reached out to the citizens' family and extended its support and aid in this trying time", the statement said.

A source with the New York Police Department tells CBS News the mother, who lives in Virginia, told police she received a call from the Saudi government in October telling the family they all had to go back to Saudi Arabia because the sisters had applied for immigration asylum.

According to other family members, the sisters were close, prompting Tala to run away form her home in Fairfax and move to New York City, where her older sister lived. NY police Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told The Washington Post "they were not in the water that long". The city medical examiner's office will determine the cause and manner of death.

A passerby spotted the bodies in the river off of Manhattan's Upper West Side on Wednesday afternoon and alerted authorities.

Police had originally theorised that the girls may have jumped from the George Washington Bridge, but ruled that out after finding a lack of obvious injuries which they would have sustained in the fall.

Arab News reported that both sisters were in touch with their mother until about a week ago.

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

The Saudi consulate-general in NY said it was "conducting a continuous follow-up to find out the facts" regarding the incident, according to a statement shared by Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

"We do not know that a crime took place", NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea said Thursday. "We are out to get justice for those two girls and find out exactly what happened".

Their mother filed another missing persons report recently but withdrew it after she said her younger daughter called her and told her she was visiting Rotana in the city.

The younger sister, Tala, had been reported missing on August 24, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"Sources say police now have a better sense of where the two entered the water and how long they may have been in the water", the broadcaster reported.

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