The mother of two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bodies were washed up along Manhattan’s shoreline, bound together with tape, said an authority at the Saudi Arabian Embassy told her right before her daughters’ bodies were found that the family has been requested to leave the U.S. since her little girls had asked for political refuge, authorities said Tuesday.
As per the Associated Press, the little girls have been identified as 16-year-old, Tala Farea, and 22-year-old, Rotana Farea, who lived in Fairfax, Virginia. Both the New York Police Department and Saudi authorities have said they are investigating the deaths.
The sisters were found last Wednesday on the bank of the Hudson River. They were completely dressed and taped together, facing each other. Medical examiners have not decided the cause of death. The bodies don’t show signs of major trauma, ruling out the police’s initial theory that they jumped from the George Washington Bridge, as indicated by the AP. Police are investigating the possibilities of a suicide, but they’re not ruling out murder.
As indicated by the Arab News, an English paper in Saudi Arabia, their mom revealed Tala, the younger sister, was reported missing months ago but called off the search once she found out that Tala was staying with Rotana in New York City. No one knows where they were staying before their passing.
As indicated by the New York Times, reports suggest that the sisters were reported missing last year, and when they were found by the police, they were placed in a shelter after asking for protection. In August, Tala was reported missing, and in October, someone again reported the sisters missing, according to the Times.
A Saudi consulate official said the two sisters were students “accompanying their brother in Washington,” according to a statement from the Saudi Arabian Consulate General posted Tuesday. The older sister attended George Mason University but left in the spring. As indicated by the AP, the two sisters had moved with their family to Fairfax from Saudi Arabia in 2015.