In a press conference Friday, the NYPD released details about the final months of Rotana and Tala Farea, the two Saudi sisters found dead on the shore of the Hudson River, duct taped together.
Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea said the girls’ family had not seen them since November 30, 2017. They were reported missing and then located near Fairfax, VA. At that time chose to go to a facility “due to abuse allegations” rather than return home. While at the facility, the women expressed that they would rather “inflict harm” upon themselves than return to Saudi Arabia. They also made allegations of abuse against against their mother, father, and brother.
In August of 2018 the Farea sisters went missing from the Virginia facility and slowly made their way to New York City. According to Uber records, they arrived in New York on September 1, where they stayed at a series of high end hotels including the Knickerbocker and began a pattern of ordering takeout meals, always two at a time. The purchases have been traced to a credit card in Rotana, the older sister’s, name. Around October of this year police believe the “money started to run out” as they reached the limit on their card.
On October 31, a man contacted the NYPD to report that he had information that was "haunting him." The man, a frequent jogger along the Hudson, said that on the morning of October 24, he saw two women sitting about 30 feet apart in a playground near the water. He said they had their heads in their hands and could be heard praying. Police believe it is likely these women were the Farea sisters.
Detective Shea dismissed rumors that the woman had jumped from the George Washington Bridge as well as reports they had been bound in a “cross-like” formation. He said the duct tape was not “tight” but rather bound in a way to keep them together.
The sisters were captured on surveillance footage in good health as recently as one week before the discovery of their bodies. Law enforcement is attempting to fill in the gaps of their final months. They have no credible evidence at this time that a crime was committed but confirmed the investigation is ongoing.
“It’s a tragedy all around,” said Detective Shea.