Police in the United States say they are still investigating the deaths of two sisters from Saudi Arabia whose bodies were found duct-taped together by the riverbank of New York City’s Hudson last week.
The sisters, Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, were discovered on October 24 on by riverbank of the Hudson, facing each other, fully clothed and without any obvious signs of trauma.
Investigators told reporters that they had not determined the circumstances surrounding their fate, but were “puzzled” as to how they came to be found dead on a riverbank more than 400km from their family’s home.
The day before the bodies were discovered, the sisters’ mother told US detectives that she had received a phone call from the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington ordering the family to leave the US, New York police said. The sisters had reportedly applied for political asylum in the US.
Saudi Arabia’s consulate general in New York City did not comment on the claims, saying it had “appointed an attorney to follow the case closely.”
The sisters moved from Saudi Arabia to Fairfax, Virginia in 2015 with their mother, and had a history of running away from home, according to US officials.
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.
The New York Police Department has sent a detective to Virginia to learn more about the sisters.
Chief of detectives Dermot Shea said they were interested in finding out what happened since they were reported missing, and what led them to New York City.
“We are looking at all clues in their past life,” Shea was quoted as saying.