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Official: Police Detain Man In Turkey Over Missing Staten Island Woman

Sarai Sierra (credit: Handout)

Sarai Sierra (credit: Handout)

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ANKARA, Turkey (CBSNewYork/AP) – Police in Istanbul on Friday detained a man who exchanged online messages with a missing Staten Island woman after questioning him over her disappearance.

Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, went missing while vacationing alone in Istanbul. She was last heard from on Jan. 21,
the day she was due back home.

A police official in Istanbul said police had questioned a man who had been in contact with Sierra during her stay in the city. The official refused to identify him or provide further details on the arrest. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to reporters without authorization.

Turkish news reports said Sierra had arranged to meet her contact on a bridge she planned to photograph on the day she went missing. It was not known if the meeting had taken place.

Sierra left for Istanbul on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby and made a side trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Munich, Germany.

Her family last heard from her on Jan. 21, when she was supposed to start her journey home, but she never checked
into her flight.

Before she went missing, Sierra had been in regular contact with her family and friends and told relatives she planned to take photographs at the Galata Bridge.

Sierra’s husband, Steven, and brother, David Jimenez, traveled to Istanbul to help in the search. Sierra’s children are 9 and
11.

Sierra had planned to go on the trip with a friend, but went alone when the friend couldn’t make it. Her belongings, including her passport, were found in her hostel room.

Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm said his office is assisting in the case.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)