Authorities believe Saudi sisters found by Hudson River were alive when they entered water, source says

Authorities have so far uncovered nothing to suggest that two Saudi Arabian ...

Posted: Nov 2, 2018 1:03 PM
Updated: Nov 2, 2018 1:03 PM

Authorities have so far uncovered nothing to suggest that two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bodies were found bound on the banks of the Hudson River were victims of foul play, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity.

The case remains steeped in mystery more than a week after the bodies of 22-year-old Rotana Farea and 16-year-old Tala Farea of Fairfax, Virginia, were discovered in upper Manhattan with their feet and waists bound together by duct tape.

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Law enforcement

Misc organizations

New York Police Department

Policing and police forces

Continents and regions

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Saudi Arabia

Hudson River

Physical locations

Rivers, lakes and falls (by name)

Water was found in the sisters' lungs, the official said, leading investigators to believe they were alive when they entered the water. Police previously said the bodies showed no signs of trauma.

New York Police Department investigators believe the deaths to be suicides, the official said, though detectives are still investigating the circumstances surrounding them.

Still, the NYPD is not ready to officially determine the causes of death. According to NYPD deputy commissioner of public information Phil Walzak, authorities are still actively investigating whether the deaths were the result of suicide, homicide or an accident.

The sisters were Saudi citizens and students accompanying their brother in Washington, according to a statement from the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia. The consulate has been in contact with the sisters' family and appointed an attorney to follow the investigation.

The law enforcement official told CNN it's become evident in the course of the investigation that the sisters did not want to return to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week The New York Times reported the Saudi Embassy in Washington had called Rotana and Tala's mother to inform her that her daughters had applied for asylum in the United States.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Wednesday that detectives have been in Virginia conducting interviews with members of the immediate family to shed light on "what was going on in the two young ladies' lives."

"We've made significant progress in piecing together pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened," he said.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Tala had been missing from Fairfax since August 24.

A post on the center's website -- which appears to have been taken down -- noted that Tala might have been with Rotana.

The sisters also were reported missing more than eight months prior, for one day in December 2017, according to Fairfax County Police.

Officer Tara Gerhard, a spokeswoman for the department, said the sisters were "referred to services, but she could not specify what type of services, nor offer additional details, citing privacy laws.

West Lafayette
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
Kokomo
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Rensselaer
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
41° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Crawfordsville
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Frankfort
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Delphi
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
Monticello
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 43°
Logansport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
Dry and Cool for Remainder of Weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 157713

Reported Deaths: 4092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25392789
Lake13805355
St. Joseph9277163
Elkhart8890135
Allen8278230
Hamilton6215113
Vanderburgh588261
Tippecanoe375915
Hendricks3302133
Monroe326638
Porter322049
Johnson3151129
Delaware297074
Clark296762
Vigo264840
Madison240595
LaPorte226658
Cass225522
Warrick195265
Kosciusko187826
Floyd180167
Howard164066
Bartholomew143358
Marshall140026
Dubois139626
Wayne132130
Henry128430
Grant127839
Boone124550
Hancock119944
Noble117434
Jackson114416
Dearborn98028
Morgan94840
Lawrence90837
Daviess89334
Gibson88612
Clinton86716
Shelby83531
LaGrange81015
Knox77410
Harrison77324
Putnam73716
Posey7236
DeKalb72011
Fayette69018
Steuben6338
Miami6305
Jasper6175
White59215
Montgomery59022
Greene55337
Scott52413
Decatur50739
Adams5027
Whitley4636
Clay4537
Ripley4538
Sullivan44414
Wells43511
Wabash4219
Starke4157
Orange40925
Huntington4015
Spencer3956
Washington3783
Franklin37625
Jennings36913
Fulton3653
Randolph3659
Jefferson3435
Pike33518
Carroll32913
Perry32614
Jay3116
Fountain3073
Tipton27823
Vermillion2531
Parke2374
Newton23011
Blackford2193
Rush2184
Owen2071
Martin2000
Crawford1591
Pulaski1562
Brown1433
Ohio1327
Benton1120
Union1110
Switzerland960
Warren841
Unassigned0234

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events