US police: Saudi sisters didn’t want to return home

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Two sisters who were found dead in New York’s Hudson River had previously told acquaintances they would rather harm themselves than return to the Kingdom, police said Friday.

The bodies of Tala Farea, 16, and her sister Rotana, 23, were found on Oct. 23 floating near Riverside Park about 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) downriver from the George Washington Bridge, which connects Manhattan with the state of New Jersey.

The New York Police Department, which has been investigating the case, said the sisters told people in Virginia, the state where they lived, that they would rather commit suicide instead of returning to Saudi Arabia, according to multiple reports.

Their bodies were found bound together with tape, but police said there was no evidence of foul play, adding there is evidence that they were alive when they entered the Hudson River.

Prior to their deaths, the Farea sisters had stayed in luxurious hotels after traveling to New York from Virginia.

Police said a witness told them he spotted the sisters praying near the Hudson River before their bodies were recovered.

Officials did not explicitly identify a cause of death, and the investigation is ongoing.