Sisters Found Dead Near Hudson Had Applied For Political Asylum, Mother Says

There have been new revelations in the story of two sisters found dead on the bank of the Hudson River near 68th Street last week. Rotana Farea, 22, and her younger sister, 16-year-old Tala Farea, were from Saudi Arabia and were living in Fairfax, Virginia, the AP reported. They were declared missing in August.

“Their mother told detectives the day before the bodies were discovered, she received a call from an official at the Saudi Arabian Embassy, ordering the family to leave the U.S. because her daughters had applied for political asylum, New York police said Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s Consulate General in New York said in a statement that it had “appointed an attorney to follow the case closely.”

New York City police sent a detective to Virginia to learn more about the sisters. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said they were particularly interested in finding out what happened since they were reported missing and what led them to New York City.”

Police are asking for help in understanding what happened.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

All calls are strictly confidential, police say.

NEWS | 14 comments | permalink
    1. Jen says:

      Horrific death of two young girls. I keep following this case but some major questions are still not answered, for example, from what they asked protection ? Did they return home after the leaving shelter? The family’s responses are very vague – one day the girls were missing, then one was visiting another and they weren’t missing after all , then missing again.

      I’m only speculating, but given all the above facts, especially fear of something and asking protection, could it be an honor killing?

      I’m surprised that the first and main theory is suicide.

      • Scott says:

        Honor killing was my first reaction as well.

        The brothers should be interviewed.

      • Lisa says:

        How could it be suicide when they were bound with duct tape? It makes no sense. This is horrific. Honor killings (a reasonable chance that’s the truth here) should never happen on our soil or anywhere else in the world. Barbaric.

        • Anonymous UWSer says:

          Yes–how could they duct tape themselves together by their waists and feet and then, what, hop into the river? Suicide makes no sense at all. Far more likely a cruel person taped them together and threw them in alive.

    2. Linda says:

      this breaks my heart.

    3. Anon says:

      After what happened to that journalist and then the shooting in Pittsburgh, who knows what the heck is going on in the land of the free.

    4. Jo Silverman says:

      Maybe it has become too free.

      • dannyboy says:

        What are you proposing:

        (a) Totalitarianism

        (b) Authoritarianism

        (c) Fascism?

        What’s are you proposing, Joe?

    5. Wagthedog says:

      1. Why would Saudi insist they leave when they have applied for political assylm?

      2. Why would Saudi appoint anyone to look into these girls death when the girls are trying to get away from crumbling house of Al Saud?

      3. Why would anyone trust Saud at this point?

      • EricaC says:

        I know nothing about this, so this is based solely on reading the news and reasoning:

        1) if they pursued an asylum case, it would be embarrassing to the government of Saudi Arabia. Most governments do not like having their human rights record dragged through US courts. I’m actually more curious how the Saudi government knew that they had filed it.

        2) I’m not suggesting the Saudi government did this – though you seem to be – but it seems that recent events would support the supposition that the Saudi government or its allies are not averse to murdering people that criticize or embarrass it.

        3) Haven’t a clue.

    6. notsuicide says:

      Their ribs would likey be shattered had they fallen into the water from the bridge. Probably someone rolled them in from a bank. And yeah clearly not suicide – are the police on crack or what? What a horrible thing, I hope they catch whoever did this and put them away.

    7. HeyJoe says:

      Agree with WTD. Seems to me like a very professional hit, a Saudi Arabian government ordered murder committed on US soil. No messy clues, bodies discovered months later. And a government-issued threat. We know what they’re capable of.

    8. B.B. says:


      LE officials seem to be ruling out foul play and going with suicide.