Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Police release recent photos of Saudi sisters found dead in NYC river

Police release recent photos of Saudi sisters found dead in NYC river

Rotana attended classes at the Volgenau School of Engineering and sources say she planned to major in bio-engineering when she returned this fall.

The NYPD says there's no known nexus between the sisters' death and the Saudi government.

The medical examiner's office will determine the causes of death as the investigation continues. Their mother filed a missing persons report for Tala in December 2017. They also, had the pair jumped during daylight, a driver near the busy bridge would have seen them.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Wednesday that investigators had been in touch with the victim's family, and felt they were finally close to shedding some light on the mysterious case.

Tala Farea had been reported missing on August 24, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which noted that she may be with her sister, Rotana. Police initially believed the sisters committed suicide by jumping off of the nearby George Washington Bridge, but further investigation revealed no signs of trauma that would indicate a plunge from the bridge, 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.

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Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University but left earlier this year.

A source with the New York Police Department tells CBS News the mother, who lives in Virginia, told police she received a call from the Saudi government in October telling the family they all had to go back to Saudi Arabia because the sisters had applied for immigration asylum.

Police released a sketch of the two women found laying on rocks near the Hudson River off of Riverside Park.

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".

Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

The Saudi consulate released a statement on Tuesday saying that the sisters were students accompanying their brother in Washington.

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