The deceased women were identified as Rotana Farea, 22, and her sister Tala Farea, 16, after sketches of the girls were circulated in news reports. Their mother identified them from the sketches.
An alert from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that Tala was missing after having been seen last on Aug. 24. Rotana was possibly with her sister, according to the alert, which has since been removed.
The Farea family lived in Fairfax, Virginia, after they moved there from Saudi Arabia. Rotana had moved to New York City several years ago.
Family Members Say Not Suicide
New York Police Department sources had said it may be a suicide.
But family members told the Riyadh-based Arab News that they don’t think the women committed suicide.
The family members on Oct. 28 also denied that the sisters were missing since August, noting that their mother initially did report Tala missing but soon found that she had been visiting her sister in New York City.
Their mother did lose contact with them about a week before the bodies were found.
The women’s father flew to New York on Oct. 25.
INTERIM UPDATE: I want to thank the public for your help @NYPDTips thus far. While Rotana and Tala Farea have been identified, our investigation continues. Anyone with information about the Farea sisters is encouraged to call Crimestoppers 800-577-TIPS (8477). pic.twitter.com/445CUj8IJ9
— Chief Dermot F. Shea (@NYPDDetectives) October 27, 2018
— New York Post Metro (@nypmetro) October 24, 2018
The women were fully clothed and they were duct taped together at the feet and at the waist, a NYPD spokesperson said. https://t.co/BcimwDJ2Sj
— WPMT FOX43 (@fox43) October 26, 2018
Bodies Not in Water Long
The sisters were found fully dressed in Riverside Park near 68th Street.
The bodies had washed onto some rocks by the tide. They were wearing black jackets with fur trim and black leggings and were duct-taped together at their hands and waists, so that they faced each other.
According to the New York Post, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said on Oct. 25, “They were not in the water that long.”
The police department said on Oct. 28 that the results of autopsies on the bodies are still pending.