JEDDAH: The family of two Saudi sisters found dead on the shore of the Hudson River in New York City has denied media reports that they might have killed themselves.
The bodies of Rotana, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, were discovered on Oct. 24 near Manhattan’s Upper East Side. They were bound together at the feet and waist.
ABC News and other news outlets reported that the working theory of investigators is that the sisters wanted to take their own lives and so taped themselves together and jumped into the water. The family denies this suggestion, saying that the girls were happy, had no problems at home and were afraid of water.
A relative told Arab News that Rotana and Tala, who had two brothers, were part of a happy and normal family.
“They were a democratic family, they never had any issues and the eldest was sent to college in New York City with her family’s blessing,” said the family member.
Regarding reports that Tala had run away from home, the family said that the sisters were very close and she had found it difficult to cope with Rotana living so far away. As a result, she traveled to New York without her mother’s knowledge. Tala was initially reported missing to the police but the search was called off after it was discovered she was with her sister.
The two young women were described as shy, intelligent and academically gifted. Tala had a full scholarship to one of Jeddah’s leading, prestigious private schools, Dar Al-Fikr.
Arab News contacted the New York Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the city, who said that the case remains under investigation and the cause of death is yet to be determined.
Early this month, the body of 23-year-old Saudi national Yasser Abulfaraj was discovered with multiple stab wounds in his apartment. The Miami-Dade police arrested Robert Wayne Gore, a homeless man, and charged him with first degree murder.