Two young Saudi nationals were found duct taped together on the banks of the Hudson River in Manhattan
New York City police are investigating the death of two young Saudi nationals who were found dead and duct-taped together in the Hudson River, according to American media reports.
According to the New York Times, the pair – who were found on the banks of the river near Riverside Park in Manhattan – have been identified as Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16. The two were residents of Fairfax, Virginia, a town near Washington DC.
The report added that police have been unable to determine a cause of death, but are looking into the possibility that the pair were involved in a suicide pact. While police initially suspected that the sisters may have jumped from the nearby George Washington Bridge, the theory was discounted due to the lack of trauma on their bodies.
“They were not in the water that long,” the NYPD’s chief of detectives, Dermot Shea, told the New York Post. He is also quoted in various media outlets as saying that police remain unsure of whether a crime has taken place.
Both had a history of going missing and had recently applied for asylum in the United States, the report added.
The Saudi Arabia-based family of the two girls, however, has denied media reports that they have killed themselves, saying that the pair were “happy” and were frightened of the water.
“They were a democratic family. They never had any issues and the eldest was sent to college in New York City with her family’s blessing,” an unnamed family member is quoted as saying by Arab News.
The Arab News report added that Tala had previously run away from her home in Virginia as “she found it difficult to cope with Rotana living so far away.” A police search for her was called off after it she was found with her sister, the report added.
Earlier in October, a 23-year old Saudi college was found stabbed to death in a Miami apartment. A 28-year old homeless man was arrested for the crime and has reportedly confessed, saying it was an attempted robbery.