Mystery surrounds deaths of Saudi sisters found in NY

Don Emmert—AFP

Officials in NY provided no cause of death Sunday for two young Virginia women whose bodies were found along the Hudson River on Wednesday, and police said it had not been determined whether they were victims of foul play.

The mother of the sisters, Rotana Farea (22) and Tala Farea (16), lives in Fairfax, Virginia. But they are still trying to work out how they died.

Neither woman's body had immediately obvious signs of trauma, and after initially suspecting that the pair might have jumped from the George Washington Bridge, cops cooled on the theory Tuesday. They were both fully clothed.

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. That office also noted that it had "appointed an attorney to follow the case closely".

Anyone with information is urged to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

"We've made significant progress in piecing together pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened", Shea said.

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The girls' movements before their death are not yet clear but police said they had moved to the U.S. with their mother in 2015, settling in Fairfax, more than 200 miles from where their bodies were found on 24 October.

The mother said that she hadn't seen the girls since December 2017.

Meanwhile, both the NYPD and an official at the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC refuted an Associated Press (AP) claim the mother of the two sisters had said that she received a call from the Saudi Embassy requesting the family to leave the United States because the daughters had requested asylum.

Both had been students and Rotana had been studying at George Mason University before she left in the spring.

Sources tell the New York Daily News that the sisters had been in the USA since 2015 and were once placed in a shelter after running away from home.

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