Saudi sisters death probe
Police search for answers into two girls’ puzzling deaths
ON NOV. 1, THE NEW YORK POLICE Department released an image of two girls and appealed to the public for help surrounding their mysterious deaths. Taking to Twitter, Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea wrote: “[The bodies of] sisters Tala and Rotana Farea … were found on Oct. 24 at the edge of the Hudson River in Manhattan.” They had been facing one another, with their feet and mid-sections bound together in “a macabre cross-like configuration.”
The Saudi-born sisters were last seen on Sept. 24 in their home state of Virginia and it’s been reported that the girls’ mother received a call from a Saudi Arabian official on Oct. 23, claiming Rotana, 22, and Tala, 16, had applied for political asylum. The girls had migrated to the US with their parents Wala’a and Abdulsalam Farea and two brothers a few years earlier to seek a better education and greater opportunities. Their father often travelled back to Saudi Arabia for work.
A family member told an Arab news outlet that media reports the girls had run away were untrue. “Their mother was naturally protective, but in no way was their household problematic for them to run away.”
Chief Shea told the media that Tala had been reported missing by her mother just two months earlier. “Tala was upset for quite some time after her sister decided to continue her studies in NYC,” the relative revealed. “But the search was called off later when they found Tala was with her sister, Rotana.”
A law enforcement official spoke to CNN anonymously and said they had not ruled out foul play or possible suicide and that they would continue to investigate the deaths, after it was revealed the girls were alive upon entering the water. “We’ve made significant progress in piecing together pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened,” Chief Shea said. “I’m confident that when the complete investigation is done we’ll have a good idea of what exactly transpired.” •
New York police pull the bodies of two girls from the Hudson River on Oct. 24.