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Saudi sisters found dead and bound in the Hudson River probably entered the water, police say

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By Jonathan Dienst, Elisha Fieldstadt and Associated Press

Two Saudi Arabian sisters who had lived in Virginia and discovered dead and tied together near the edge of New York’s Hudson River were likely alive when they entered the water, investigators said.

Talk Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, were organized in the river along Manhattan at the New York Police Department on October 24th. They were tied in the channel tape together in their waist and feet, facing each other and both dressed.

Suicide remains “a leading theory,” said a law enforcement official NBC News. But a theory that the sisters jumped from the George Washington Bridge seem unlikely because their bodies lacked signs of trauma associated with a fall from that height.

 The bodies of the sisters Rotana, left and Tala Farea were discovered on the beach of the Hudson River Waterfront on New York City on October 24, 2018. The bodies of the sisters Rotana, left and Tala Farea were discovered on the beach of the Hudson River Waterfront on New York City October 24, 2018. NYPD via AP

The sisters were heard last August 24th and reported on September 12, according to a statement from the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia.

Police said their mother announced that she had received a call from an official at the Saudi embassy on the day before the bodies were discovered. The Embassy ordered the family to leave the United States because her daughters had applied for political asylum, said the mother. Tala and Rotana had moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia with her mother 2015, according to The Associated Press.

“We are looking to get justice for the two girls and find out exactly what happened,” New York chief of detective Dermot Shea said Tuesday.

A statement from Saudi Consulate General in New York said that the Ministry and Embassy in Saudi Arabia in Washington also investigated the mysterious deaths of the sisters and the consulate had “appointed a lawyer to follow the case.”

Both sisters were students in Washington, together with their brother, said the statement.

Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left in the spring, the school said in a statement.

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