Detectives begin 'unraveling' mystery of sisters found dead, bound in Hudson River

In December 2017, police said the sisters were placed in a shelter after an earlier disappearance in 2017.

Meanwhile, both the NYPD and an official at the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC refuted an Associated Press (AP) claim the mother of the two sisters had said that she received a call from the Saudi Embassy requesting the family to leave the USA because the daughters had requested asylum. NYPD Chief Detective Dermot Shea told reporters on Wednesday that detectives have gone to Virginia and interviewed family and associates. The Farea sisters were reported missing again, for the second and final time, on August 24.

There were no obvious signs of trauma when the bodies were discovered, police said.

"We've made significant progress in piecing together the pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened", said Shea at an unrelated press briefing.

Both had been students and Rotana had been studying at George Mason University before she left in the spring.

But there's still few public details about either sister's past.

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The sisters' mother told detectives that a Saudi official called her the day before the bodies were discovered and said the family had to leave the US because her daughters had applied for political asylum.

In a statement released today, the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in NY said the Farea sisters were "citizens accompanying their brother in Washington" and it had "appointed an attorney to follow the case closely".

The women's bodies washed up along the banks of the Hudson River in Riverside Park, on the Upper West Side, Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The Farea sisters' deaths have been shrouded in mystery since last week.

Anyone with information about the Farea sisters is urged to call the New York City Police Department's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. The lack of obvious trauma appeared to rule out a theory they jumped into the river from the George Washington Bridge. Law&Crime repeatedly reached out to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. for comment or clarification on the mother's allegation but no response was forthcoming at the time of publication.

  • Sonia Alvarado