Sisters Preferred Suicide Over Returning To Saudi Arabia: Police

Two young Saudi women whose bodies were found a week ago along the rocky Manhattan shore of the Hudson River had likely committed suicide, according to police. 

Demot Shea, the chief of detective for the New York City Police, said on Friday that sisters Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 23, from Saudi Arabia who were living in Virginia, had likely "entered the water alive" and were said to have preferred suicide over returning to Saudi Arabia.

"At this point in time we have no credible information that any crime took place in New York City, but it is under investigation," Shea said.

Sisters Tala Farea (L) and Rotana Farea (R). Image: NYPD

Shea added that "sources" from Virginia told detectives during the investigation that the girls, who were discovered on October 24 by a passerby, "would rather inflict harm on themselves and commit suicide then return to Saudi Arabia".

Detectives used eye-witness testimonies, video evidence and evidence from the eldest sister's credit card purchases for food, hotel and transportation to determine that there likely was no foul play before their deaths.

The women were last seen by family in Virginia on November 30, 2017.

They then stayed at a shelter-type facility for domestic violence victims until the end of August and appeared to have come to New York City on September 1, Shea said.

An undated police sketch of sisters Rotana, left, and Tala Farea. Image: NYPD

Shea said information showed they stayed at a number of high-end hotels with video showing them in apparent good health as recently as a week before their bodies were discovered.

One eyewitness told detectives that about 7am on October 24, he saw two women kneeling about nine metres apart near the Hudson river and were praying loudly for about 15 minutes.

Police said the women, who have been living in the United States for about two to three years, were said to have been subjected to physical abuse and may have applied for asylum in the U.S.

A cause of death have not been determined in this case and police were working closely with the chief medical examiner.