Saudi sisters who were found dead and bound with duct tape on the shore of the Hudson River in New York in October committed suicide, the city’s medical examiner announced Tuesday.
Rotana and Tala Farea, ages 23 and 16, of Fairfax County, Virginia, bound themselves before descending into the river and drowning, the medical examiner determined. Because of how they were found, the sisters’ deaths generated national media attention and speculation that they may have been killed.
New York police officials said at a November news conference that they had no indication the sisters died of foul play. They said the sisters had said they were abused by family members and would rather inflict harm on themselves than return to Saudi Arabia. Police said they sought asylum in the United States on those grounds.
The sisters disappeared from their family’s Fairfax home on August 23, making their way to New York, police said. Detectives determined that the sisters had maxed out a credit card, shopping and staying at high-end hotels in the city before killing themselves.
They were found dead on October 24.
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