The two Saudi sisters found dead after washing up onto the Manhattan shore from the Hudson River were alive when they entered the water, officials said.
The medical examiner announced the findings on Oct. 31, one week after the women were found duct-taped together after the tide washed them up on rocks in New York City.
The New York Police Department said that it’s still investigating the strange case.
“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,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told CBS. “At this point in time, it has still has not been determined a homicide.”
For nearly a week investigators only circulated sketches of Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, but released pictures of the pair several days ago.
The Farea family lived in Fairfax, Virginia, after they moved there from Saudi Arabia. Rotana had moved to New York City several years ago. Reports indicated that Rotana was living alone in an apartment in Fairfax earlier this year but had started attending a college in New York City.
The girls’ mother reported her younger daughter missing twice and told the police she hadn’t seen either daughter since December 2017. She said Tala was visiting Rotana in New York but that she’d lost touch with both about a week before the bodies washed ashore.
The women’s father flew to New York on Oct. 25, after the girls were found, fully dressed wearing matching outfits but with no signs of trauma but duct taped together.
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
Did you know them? Meet them? See them? pic.twitter.com/kX3KdxAuZp
— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) October 31, 2018
The mother told officials that her daughters had applied for asylum, a fact she only learned when the Saudi embassy in Washington called her and told her about the applications, warning that the family’s residence in America was in jeopardy.
The Saudi consulate in New York said that the Consulate General is keeping close tabs on the investigation.
“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,” Shea said via Twitter on Wednesday. “Did you know them? Meet them? See them?”