A “credible” witness has claimed to have seen the two sisters who were found dead in the Hudson River last week, just hours before their bodies were found in the water alongside Riverside Park in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
According to NBC News, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea shared new information about the mysterious deaths of Tala Farea, 16, and her sister Rotana Farea, 22. Their bodies were first discovered by a passerby in the park on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 24. The sisters were reportedly bound together at the waist and the ankles, and there were no signs of visible trauma.
Shea told reporters that a witness has come forward to say he saw the sisters earlier that same day at a playground near the park. The unidentified man said the females were about 30 feet apart with their heads down, and that they looked to have been praying. The chief of detectives reportedly said that the witness’s account was “credible.”
Shea shared further information about the sisters’ relationship with their family, and appeared to corroborate an AM New York report earlier this week indicating the sisters had not recently lived with their family in Fairfax, Virginia, where they had lived after moving to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in 2015. Family members interviewed by law enforcement reportedly said they hadn’t seen Tala and Rotana since November 2017. The AM New York report, citing a law enforcement official, stated the girls had been reported missing in December of that year and were later found safe at a shelter. The newest police account appears to contradict claims made by an unidentified relative to Arab News, insisting that the sisters were happy at home and did not have a history of running away.
The police spokesperson also reportedly said that there were uncorroborated allegations of abuse involving Tala and Rotana’s mother, brother, and father. Shea said police were still working to determine if the sisters had applied for asylum, and were attempting to corroborate reports that the sisters said they would rather die than move back to Saudi Arabia.
“There is no credible information that any crime took place in New York City, but that’s still under investigation,” Shea reportedly said.