Mystery of sisters found taped together deepens

Aaron Brown
November 1, 2018

The Farea sisters were reported missing again, for the second and final time, on August 24.

There were no obvious signs of trauma to their bodies, police have said. Prior to their recent disappearance, Tala and Rotana Farea were reported missing in December 2017 when they left their family home and were placed in a shelter.

The sisters were Saudi citizens and students who were accompanying their brother in Washington, the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in NY said Tuesday in a statement.

A post on the center's website - which appears to have been taken down - had noted that Tala might have been with Rotana.

The sisters' mysterious death comes at a time of increased scrutiny of U.S. -Saudi relations following the death on October 2 of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly murdered and dismembered after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.

Their mother told detectives that the day before her daughters were discovered, an official at the Saudi Arabian Embassy had ordered the family to leave the United States and return home because of the girls' asylum request.

The Week's Ryan Cooper likened the Farea sisters' death to the 1976 car-bombing and assassination of Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier-an assassination which was carried out with the full knowledge and tacit acceptance of top USA policymakers, including then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, according to the Washington Post.

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Officials wouldn't confirm the report publicly but did confirm they're looking into the sisters' immigration status.

The cause of the sisters' death has not been released, although the lack of obvious injury seems to rule out an earlier theory that they had jumped into the river from a bridge.

The sisters were found laying on rocks near the river, fully-clothed, both wearing black jackets with fur trim and black leggings.

The Saudi consulate in NY said that the Consulate General is keeping close tabs on the investigation.

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

Anyone with information about what happened is urged to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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