Saudi sisters killed themselves, says medical examiner

Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 23, were bound together with duct tape when their bodies were discovered back in October, about two months after they disappeared from a shelter in Fairfax, Virginia, authorities said.

The deaths of Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, who were found dead in the Hudson River in October, were ruled a suicide by the New York City medical examiner's office.

Financial records obtained by police indicate that they stayed at "a number of high-end hotels", routinely ordering meals.

People who knew the sisters in Virginia told investigators that they made statements within the previous year indicating "that they would rather inflict harm on themselves - commit suicide - than return to Saudi Arabia", New York City Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said in the fall.

NY police officials said at a November news conference that they had no indication the sisters died of foul play.

NY authorities have announced that two Saudi sisters whose bodies were found on the banks of a NY river bound together with duct tape had committed suicide.

The Farea sisters' deaths and the January escape of Saudi teen Rahaf al-Qunun from Saudi Arabia have put the kingdom's guardianship laws, which restrict many aspects of women's lives, back under global scrutiny.

A day before their bodies were found, Tala and Rotana's mother was informed by the Saudi Embassy in Washington that her daughters had previously applied for asylum in the United States after reportedly being ordered home, according to a New York Times report.

And as they ran out of money, they chose to take their lives together.

The sisters, who according to police has applied for asylum in the United States, had been placed in a shelter but left Virginia in August and set out for NY.

A missing person's poster said the women were last seen on August 24 in Virginia, but their family hadn't seen them since November 30, 2017.

  • Joey Payne