World News

New details in mystery of Saudi sisters' found dead in NYC river

New details in mystery of Saudi sisters' found dead in NYC river

Water was found in the sisters' lungs, the official said, leading investigators to believe they were alive when they entered the water.

Police sources told the New York Daily News the pair had been bound together and their sandals duct-taped to their feet.

The Farea family lived in Fairfax, Virginia, after they moved there from Saudi Arabia.

But the Saudi newspaper "Arab News", citing family members, reported that the search was called off when it was discovered she was visiting her sister at an unspecified college in NY.

Rotana, left, and Tala Farea, whose fully clothed bodies, bound together with tape and facing each other, were discovered on the banks of New York City's Hudson River on October 24, 2018.

"Those interviews are unravelling pieces of the puzzle about what is happening behind the scenes and what was going on with the girls' lives", NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told reporters. Police wouldn't say how they traveled or where they stayed. Medical examiners have not decided the cause of death.

On Tuesday, the day before the bodies were discovered, the sisters' mother told police she received a call from an official at the Saudi Arabian Embassy, ordering the family to leave the USA because her daughters had applied for political asylum.

More news: Arizona woman injured in crash survives for days before being rescued

Saudi Arabia's consulate general in NY did not comment on the Times report directly. Shea said they were particularly interested in finding out what happened since they were reported missing and what led them to New York City. Police are expected to hold a news conference on Friday to update the investigation.

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.

"They were a democratic family, they never had any issues and the eldest was sent to college in New York City with her family's blessing", they said.

The Saudi embassy in Washington was also extending its "support and aid in this trying time" to the sisters' family, the statement said.

The sisters were found last Wednesday on the bank of the Hudson River.

Last December, they ran away from their Fairfax, Va. home for the first time.