Saudi sisters found dead in US ‘did not seek asylum’

The relative refuted media claims that the girls ran away from home and were missing for two months

New York:  In the latest update on the case of the two Saudi sisters Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, who were found on the shores of the Hudson River last week, New York police denied revealing any asylum information.

The NYPD have also told media that there is no known nexus between the sisters’ death and the Saudi government.

AP had reported this week that the two sisters had applied for political asylum, Arab News contacted the NYPD DCPI to confirm AP’s story, and the officer handling the case denied releasing any information regarding an alleged asylum claim. 

The bodies of Rotana and Tala Farea washed up on the shores of the Hudson River in New York, last week, bound together with duct tape around their waists and ankles. 

Likewise the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC refuted an Associated Press (AP) claim that the mother of the two sisters had said that she received a call from the Saudi Embassy requesting the family to leave the US because the daughters had requested asylum. 

In a statement, the consulate said it had appointed a lawyer to follow the case “to avoid inaccurate reporting.” The Saudi embassy in Washington was also extending its “support and aid in this trying time” to the sisters’ family, the statement said.

 A cousin of the two slain sisters told Arab News that it is ‘highly unlikely that their mother would have made such a statement to the police’, as she is in no condition to talk to the media. 

Relatives of the family talking to Saudi media have said that the girls come from a normal family of six; they were just like any other Saudi family who moves between home and abroad.

The family moved to the United States in 2015, seeking education for their two girls and two sons. They all lived with their mother, Wafa’a, in the Virginia suburbs, while the father, Abdulsalam, travels back and forth for work reasons.

The relative refuted media claims that the girls ran away from home and were missing for two months.

Saying that Rotana recently moved to New York to study, Tala the younger sister got upset so she followed her sister to New York without her mother’s knowledge, that’s when her mother reported her missing in August

“But the search was called off later when they found Tala was with her sister, Rotana. The police told their mother that since her younger daughter was safe with an adult, it’s safe to call off the search.” According to relatives

New York police still trying to solve the mystery

This week police have released two passport photos of Rotana and Tala requesting the public for any information on the two Saudis, because they were not getting any leads that would help the investigation.

Investigators still had not determined also how they died, waiting on the city’s medical examiner to determine the cause of death, the bodies were not decomposed when found.

“The detectives’ work has filled in many of the pieces,’’ Shea told news reporters, “but there’s still some gaps that we would like to fill in and get a real clear picture of what happened in the last two months.’’

New York Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea talking to media said his department has sent investigators to Virginia to interview family members and others who knew the sisters. The detectives are focusing on the period between their disappearance and the discovery of their bodies Oct. 24

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