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Sisters found dead in the Hudson River buried in Saudi Arabia as investigation continues: Report

The bodies of two sister found mysteriously dead in the Hudson River late last month have reportedly been laid to rest in Saudi Arabia.

Arab News, an English-language newspaper based in Saudi Arabia, reports that the bodies of 16-year-old Tala Farea and her 22-year-old sister Rotana Farea were buried at al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah on Sunday, amid an ongoing investigation into their mysterious deaths.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Tala and Rotana were found on the banks of the Hudson River alongside Manhattan’s Riverside Park on the Upper West Side on October 24. Their bodies were reportedly bound at the waist and ankles, and authorities have said the sisters may have been alive when they entered the water.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea has said that police haven’t yet discovered any evidence of a crime, though authorities have not reported the medical examiner’s conclusions about the cause of death outside of the determination that the sisters may have been alive when they went into the Hudson. As CrimeOnline previously reported, investigators had been looking into reports that the sisters had said they would rather die than return to Saudi Arabia, along with uncorroborated allegations of abuse on the part of family members who lived in Fairfax, Virginia, where the family moved from Saudi Arabia in 2015. The sisters appear to have been estranged from their parents for close to a year before they were found dead, and it is unclear where they were living between November 2017 and late summer 2018, when they reportedly traveled to New York City together and lived in various hotels until their deaths last month.

“At this time we have no credible information that any crime took place in New York City, but it is still under investigation,” Chief Shea told the New York Times late last week. While investigators ruled out an early theory that the sisters may have jumped to their deaths from the George Washington Bridge, some type of suicide remain the leading theory in the death investigation.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, a witness came forward to say that he had seen the sisters near Riverside Park on the morning of the day they were found dead, appearing to be in prayer. 

“We have them praying a short distance from the water,” Chief Shea told the New York Times.

“We also have sources that detectives have developed thus far, statements that they would rather inflict harm on themselves, commit suicide, than return to Saudi Arabia.”