Horror: Turkish Authorities Find Body of Missing American Woman in Istanbul
(TheBlaze/AP) — A New York City woman who went missing while vacationing alone in Istanbul was found dead on Saturday, and police detained nine people for questioning in connection with the case, Turkey’s state-run news agency said.
Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, was last heard from on Jan. 21, the day she was due to fly home. Her disappearance attracted significant interest in Turkey, where the disappearance of tourists is rare, and Istanbul police reportedly set up a special unit to find her.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the body of a woman was discovered Saturday evening near the remnants of ancient city walls and that police later identified it as Sierra’s.
They did not say what caused her death, but the private NTV television reported that she was stabbed to death, and another reported that she had a head wound, suggesting she may have been hit with an object.
Police reached by The Associated Press refused to comment on the case.
Sierra, whose children are 9 and 11, had left for Istanbul on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby and made a side trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. She had originally planned to travel with a friend, but ended up traveling alone when her friend canceled.
She was in regular contact with friends and relatives and was last in touch with her family on Jan. 21, the day she was due back in New York. She told them she would visit Galata Bridge, which spans Istanbul’s Golden Horn waterway, to take photos.
The body was found near the bridge and a major road that runs alongside the sea of Marmara. Tourists often photograph dozens of tankers there while waiting to access the Bosporus strait.
On Saturday, police stopped traffic there as forensic police inspected the area.
Anadolu suggested Sierra may have been killed at another location and that her body may have been brought to the site to be hidden there.
It was not clear if a Turkish man Sierra had exchanged emails with during her stay in Istanbul was among the nine detainees, though he was taken in for questioning and released on Friday. Turkish news reports said Sierra had arranged to meet the man on Galata Bridge, but he reportedly told police the meeting never took place.
Sierra’s husband, Steven, and her brother, David Jimenez, traveled to Istanbul to help search for her.
While break-ins and petty thievery are common in Istanbul, the vast and crowded city is considered relatively safe for foreigners compared to other major urban centers.
“It’s tragic, you can’t even go on vacation anymore and feel safe,” Sierra’s neighbor told CBS2. “I feel bad for her whole family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
The Associated Press has more:
- ‘Bigoted, Religious [Zealots]‘: High School Senior Allegedly Expelled, Charged With Felonies Over Gay Relationship With ‘Consenting’ Fellow Student 998 Comments
- ‘The Daily Show’ Creator Makes Outrageously Offensive Anti-Conservative Joke About Okla. Tornado 434 Comments
- Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About 388 Comments
- University Will Investigate Christian Professor’s Intelligent Design Class Following Atheist Furor 293 Comments
- ‘Arrogance…Abuse of Power…Rotten to the Core’: Paul Ryan Steamed Over IRS, Benghazi 198 Comments
- Is This Video of Pope Francis Performing an Exorcism? Read More
- Boston Cardinal Snubs Irish PM Over Abortion Support Read More
- Incredible: The Moment a Woman’s Dog Emerges from Rubble During TV Interview Right After She Describes Losing Him 156 Comments
- See the First Behind-the-Scenes Photos as Beck and Mercury One Survey the Damage in Okla. 183 Comments
- Here’s the Inspirational Story of an American Flag Hanging Amid the Oklahoma Tornado’s Destruction Read More
- Jay Carney Shifts IRS Timeline (Again!) Read More
- Top IRS Official at Center of Political Targeting Scandal Will Plead the Fifth Read More
- Disgraced IRS Interim Chief Now Fully Admits Knowledge of Planted Question (but Did It Reveal a Past Half-Truth?) Read More
- Ex-IRS Chief: I Have no Idea How This Conservative Targeting Happened Read More
- Treasury Sec. Ready to Deploy ‘Extraordinary Measures’ as U.S. Hits Debt Limit (Again) Read More
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- This Teen’s Invention Means You Could Charge Your Cellphone in Less Than 30 Seconds 102 Comments
- One of the Most Unlikely Animals Being Trained to Hunt Land Mines Read More
- Surprise: The IRS leans left — way left
- ‘First they came for Fox News…’
- Most Republicans not following news about Obama admin’s three scandals ‘very closely’
- Obama DOJ relied on 1917 Espionage Act to target ‘co-conspirator’ Fox News
- Stuart Stevens predicts racist ‘small cable show’ co-hosted by Sharpton, Weiner
- Fire chief says search almost complete in Oklahoma
- Protesters rally over IRS' tea party scrutiny
- JPMorgan's Dimon survives shareholder referendum
- Seen and heard at the Cannes Film Festival
- Microsoft touts Xbox One as all-in-1 entertainment
- Arias asks jury to give her life in prison
- Committee nears final vote on immigration bill
- Apple's Cook faces Senate questions on taxes