The deaths of two Saudi sisters who recently sought asylum in the USA and whose bodies were discovered fully clothed and duct-taped together at the feet and waist last Wednesday on the banks of the Hudson River are under investigation.
The New York Police Department says the bodies that were found Wednesday lying on rocks along the river were 22-year-old Rotana Farea and her 16-year-old sister, Tala Farea, both of Fairfax, Virginia.
The Virginia-based mother said the Saudi embassy in Washington called her on October 23 alerting her that the family's residence in America was in jeopardy because of the asylum applications, reported the New York Post.
The two bodies were found on Wednesday at around 3:00pm by a passer-by who informed the police.
According to other family members, the sisters were close, prompting Tala to run away form her home in Fairfax and move to New York City, where her older sister lived. The city medical examiner's office will determine the cause and manner of death.
The Consulate General is following closely with local authorities the investigation of the two Saudi citizens found in the Hudson river.
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"I think we've made significant progress in piecing together pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened", Shea said.
"The detectives' work has filled in numerous pieces, 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".
Police told the New York Post that they believed the women had entered the river from the George Washington Bridge and then floated more than 100 blocks south to just below Riverside Park, which stretches for 50 blocks along Manhattan's west side.
Tala Farea and Rotana Farea are seen in these undated photos released by the New York Police Department.
Police had originally theorised that the girls may have jumped from the George Washington Bridge, but ruled that out after finding a lack of obvious injuries which they would have sustained in the fall. Tala had been reported missing from Fairfax since August 24 and was suspected to be accompanied by Rotan, police said. But the missing child report was withdrawn after it was claimed she was living with her elder sister in New York City.
In December 2017, police said the sisters were placed in a shelter after an earlier disappearance in 2017.