The bodies of two sisters from Saudi Arabia who were seeking asylum in the United States (US) were recovered from a New York City riverbed, tied together with duct tape, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The two young women, identified as Rotana Farea, 22, and her sister Tala, 16, were found on the banks of the Hudson last week with no visible signs of trauma, dressed all in black, with fur-trimmed coat collars, and bound together at the ankles and waist by duct tape.
Investigators have said they did not see any obvious signs of trauma on the bodies when they were found on October 24 in the area of 68th Street and Riverside Park.
Investigators haven't determined how the sisters died.
The sisters' mother also received a call from the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington telling her about the asylum applications, according to the Times' report, which the NYPD declined to confirm.
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Saudi Arabia's Consulate General in NY said in a statement that it had "appointed an attorney to follow the case closely".
Police released a sketch of the two women found laying on rocks near the Hudson River off of Riverside Park.
A passerby spotted the bodies in the river off of Manhattan's Upper West Side on Wednesday afternoon and alerted authorities. Dermot Shea, the New York Police Department's chief of detectives, said to reporters this week. "Those interviews [with relatives in Virginia] are really unraveling in some way a piece of the puzzle of, behind the scenes, what was going on in the two young ladies' lives".
Two months ago, the mother reported Tala as missing, but later withdrew the report after the teenager was found visiting her sister in NY.
"The detectives' work has filled in numerous pieces, but there's still some gaps that we would like to fill in and get a real clear picture of what happened in the last two months".
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In August they were reported missing.
The sisters were pronounced dead where they were found along the riverbank, police said.
The Farea sisters moved from Saudi Arabia to Fairfax, Virginia, in 2015 with their mother, and had a history of running away from home, according to U.S. officials.
Tala Farea and Rotana Farea are seen in these undated photos released by the New York Police Department.
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