Investigators searching for answers on the mysterious deaths of two sisters who were found dead in the Hudson River on October 24 are reportedly probing credit card transactions to try and piece together the final weeks of their lives.
The bodies of Tala Farea, 16, and her sister Rotana Farea, 22, were found on the edge of the Hudson River alongside Manhattan’s Riverside Park on the Upper West Side last Wednesday afternoon. According to multiple reports citing law enforcement sources, the bodies were taped together at the waist and the ankles. The sisters showed no visible signs of trauma, leading investigators to abandon an initial theory that they may have jumped from the George Washington Bridge, according to a report earlier this week in the New York Times. According to the more recent CNN report, published on Friday, a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that investigators still suspect suicide, and have not found evidence of foul play.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities now believe that the sisters were alive when they entered the water.
CNN reports that investigators have learned that Tala and Rotana arrived together in New York City on September 1 from Philadelphia, after first traveling to Washington D.C., which is less than 20 miles from Fairfax, Virginia, where the Farea family lives after moving to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in 2015. According to the report, it is not yet known how the sisters traveled to each location.
The sisters’ living situation has remained unclear. A law enforcement source told AM New York that Tala and Farea were reported missing in December 2017, and that they were found safely living in a homeless shelter. Police reportedly did not return them to their family at that time, and the AM New York report indicated that sisters may have never moved back to the home.
But a relative who spoke to Arab News, an English-language newspaper based in Saudi Arabia, denied claims that the sisters had run away, and said they were happy at home with their family. The relative said that the family had reported Tala missing in late August, but called off the search after she was found to be with her sister in New York, who the unidentified relative told Arab News had “decided to continue her studies in NYC.”
Phil Walzak, deputy commissioner for public information for the NYPD, told CNN that authorities in New York are still considering multiple possibilities, including homicide, suicide, and an accidental death. An official cause of death is still pending.