NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD on Friday provided more details on the mysterious deaths of two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bodies were found bound on the bank of the Hudson River.
The bodies of 22-year-old Rotana Farea and 16-year-old Tala Farea washed up along Riverside Park on Oct. 24. Since then, there have been no definitive answers on how they ended up there, and speculation has swirled as to whether they committed suicide or were killed.
“At this point of time we have no credible information that any crime took place in New York City,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Friday.
Shea said the NYPD has uncovered reports that the girls had previously been abused.
Shea provided a timeline of what was known about the girls:
- The girls were last seen by their family in Virginia on Nov. 30, 2017
- In December, the girls were located and returned to a shelter-type facility and not their home. That was because of abuse allegations that came up, Shea said.
- The girls remained at that facility for about eight months
- They went missing from the facility they’d been staying around Aug. 23 or 24. The family told investigators they had had no contact with the girls during that entire period.
- NYPD investigators believe the girls arrived in New York City on Sept. 1, and took a variety of means of transportation including Uber to get here
- Investigators said the girls stayed at a number of high-end hotels in New York City between Sept. 1 and the time they were discovered dead on Oct. 24.
The girls stayed in various high-end hotels and used Uber to make their way up from Virginia, Shea said. The credit card had gotten maxed out. Shea added that the girls had made remarks that they would rather commit suicide than return to Saudi Arabia.
“It is entirely credible that the girls entered the water alive,” Shea said.
“This is a tragedy all the way around,” Shea said. “At this point in time, everything we’ve seen thus far is pointing to other than a crime taking place.”
They were found clothed in fur trim coats and bound together with duct tape.
Police put together at timeline from when they were last seen in Fairfax, Virginia on August 24.
Sources tell CBS2 records indicate the sisters traveled from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia before arriving in New York City on September 1.
According to investigators, the girls’ mother, who still lives in Virginia, told police she got a call from the Saudi embassy the day before their bodies were discovered, saying the family had to leave the U.S. because her daughters applied for political asylum.
In a statement, the Saudi consulate general said it will “follow the case closely” and the sisters “were students accompanying their brother in Washington.”
Investigators are still awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine the exact causes of death.