NEW YORK  (CBS News/CBS New York) — Investigators in New York are trying to figure out what happened to two sisters who were found floating near an embankment of the Hudson River last Wednesday. Police say 22-year-old Rotana Farea and 16-year-old Tala Farea were similarly dressed and bound together at their ankles and waists with duct tape. For nearly a week, police sketches were the only leads authorities had.

RELATED: How Did Sisters Fleeing Saudi Arabia End Up Bound And Dead In The Hudson River?

“We are out to get justice for those two girls and to find out exactly what happened what led them to be recovered in the water,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.

At a briefing Wednesday, police said the medical examiner determined the sisters were alive when they entered the water. However, their cause of death has not been determined.

The sisters moved to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia with their mother in 2015, settling in Fairfax, a suburb of Washington D.C., police said.

Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left in the spring. A George Mason spokesman called the news of her death “tragic,” and said the university was cooperating with police.

Police said the sisters left their family home and were placed in a shelter after an earlier disappearance, in December 2017.

They were reported missing again Aug. 24.

“At this point in time it has still has not been determined a homicide,” said Shea.

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 are still investigating what exactly happened, but they are calling the deaths suspicious. The investigation has been hampered because there is virtually no digital footprint. The sisters didn’t have a registered phone or any presence on social media.

Comments (4)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s