The bodies of Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, were found on the shore of the Hudson River in New York beneath a small pier on October 24. There were no obvious signs of trauma to their bodies and they had not been in the water long. Police released a sketch of the women, both with curly dark hair and they were soon identified as Saudi sisters who lived in Fairfax, VA. Their mother had reported Tala missing in August.
While it appears the women committed suicide, the medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death. Initial speculation that they jumped from the George Washington Bridge was dismissed because the fall would have severely injured their bodies and torn apart the duct tape that bound them together. Police are now trying to determine where and when their bodies entered the water. They haven’t ruled out foul play.
While we continue the expansive investigation into the deaths of sisters Tala & Rotana Farea—whose bodies were found on Oct 24 at the edge of the Hudson River in Manhattan—we urge anyone w/ info to call CrimeStoppers 800-577-TIPS @NYPDTIPS— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) October 31, 2018
Did you know them? Meet them? See them? pic.twitter.com/kX3KdxAuZp
The Farea’s mother told police that the day before her daughters’ bodies were discovered, she received a call from the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. informing her that the sisters had applied for immigration asylum. Officials confirmed they are looking into the immigration status of the two women.
This was not the first time the Farea sisters had gone missing. In December their mother reported them missing. When Virginia police found them, the women opted to live in a shelter rather than return home. Family members say the two were very close and that when Tala went missing in August they were sure she’d gone to be with her older sister. However, in October, someone again reported them both missing.
“We do not know that a crime took place,” Dermot F. Shea, the chief of detectives, told the New York Times. “We have a terrible tragedy for sure.”