NYPD denies releasing information on slain Saudi sisters seeking asylum in US

Saul Bowman
November 1, 2018

When their bodies were found last week on the banks of New York's Hudson River, the sisters wore similar black leggings and fur-trimmed jackets, with their feet and waists bound together by duct tape.

According to the NYT, the police had initially struggled to identify the women but later said they were 22-year-old Rotana Farea and 16-year-old Tala Farea who lived in Fairfax, Virginia.

In a statement, the Saudi consulate-general said embassy officials in Washington had contacted the family and "extended its support and aid in this trying time", and noted that the sisters were students "accompanying their brother in Washington".

The bodies of two women were found washed up from the Hudson River off the Upper West Side in New York, Oct. 24, 2018.

The Naitonal Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported the 16-year-old missing August 24 and noted she may have been with her sister. NYPD Chief Detective Dermot Shea told reporters on Wednesday that detectives have gone to Virginia and interviewed family and associates.

Investigators say it is too early to determine if any crime occurred or if their deaths were caused by suicide.

They were accompanying their brother in Washington, the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in NY said.

She said that she had not seen her daughters since December 2017, when she reported them missing to police in Fairfax.

Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left in the spring.

"We are out to get justice for those two girls and find out exactly what happened", he added.

Virginia cops eventually found them, but they went to go stay in a shelter, the location of which wasn't disclosed by cops to the parents, sources said.

The family, originally from Jeddah, had not experienced any major familial troubles, a relative told Saudi newspaper Arab News, dismissing reports they may had taken their own lives. A George Mason spokesman called the news of her death "tragic", and said the university was cooperating with police.

The Farea sisters moved from Saudi Arabia to Fairfax, Virginia, in 2015 with their mother, and had a history of running away from home, according to United States officials.

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