Mystery of Saudi sisters found tied together in Hudson River

April FrancisNov 03, 2018

They were reported missing and then located near Fairfax, VA but at that time chose to go to a facility "due to abuse allegations" rather than return home.

The medical examiner's office has not released the cause or manner of death.

NY police were still trying to piece together their gruesome deaths after it emerged that the two sisters were Saudi citizens living in Fairfax, Virginia, who may have sought asylum in America.

Shea said the duct tape found around girls was not tight and binding, but only "keeping them together", indicating they may have placed the duct tape themselves before they entered the water. Shea said police also relied on surveillance footage from up to six days before their bodies were found, which showed the sisters together alone and in good health, showing no sign of distress. They were reported missing on a few occasions, and were last seen by family in November 2017.

They arrived in NY around September 1, and for weeks after that, they were seen on security cameras twice between September 1 and about five or six days before they were found, and seemed to be in good condition, Shea said.

Investigators continue to decipher "numerous volumes of records" between their arrival in New York City and October 24, but have records indicating they stayed at a number of high-end hotels, regularly ordered multiple meals a day and went shopping, Shea said. The lack of obvious trauma appeared to rule out a theory they jumped into the river from the George Washington Bridge.

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But the Saudi newspaper "Arab News", citing family members, reported that the search was called off when it was discovered she was visiting her sister at an unspecified college in NY. No one knows where they were staying before their passing. "Until as best we can surmise at this point in time ... the credit card, the money started to run out".

Shea said the sisters may have applied for asylum, citing family abuse.

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment and referred questions to the NY police.

Their mother told detectives she received a call from an official at the Saudi Arabian Embassy the day before the bodies were discovered, ordering the family to leave the US because her daughters had applied for political asylum, the NYPD said Tuesday.

The Saudi embassy in Washington was also extending its "support and aid in this trying time" to the sisters' family, the statement said.

ICE did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.

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