Two Saudi sisters who had been found dead on the banks of the Hudson River had made statements that they would rather kill themselves than return to Saudi Arabia, the New York police said their detectives had learned.

However, investigators have not found credible evidence that Rotana Farea (22) and Tala Farea (16) have been victims of a foul play.

[Original story published at 1:09 p.m. ET]

Investigators are getting a clearer picture of the last weeks of the two Saudi Arabian sisters before they were found dead on the shores of the Hudson River.

Rotana Farea (22) and Tala Farea (16) came to Philadelphia from Philadelphia two months ago after visiting Washington, DC, according to credit card records examined by the New York City Police Department.

More than a week after their bodies were discovered, investigators have provided few answers as to how the sisters – last seen on August 24 in Fairfax, Virginia – were dead with their feet and waists on a New York riverbank Upper West Side.

Tala Farea (16) and Rotana Farea (22) were found dead last week.

It was unclear what means of transport the sisters used and what time periods they visited in each city, said a New York police spokesman. Detectives scour midtown Manhattan for surveillance and testimony to determine their whereabouts.

And it was not the first time that the sisters disappeared. In December, they were reported missing for one day, police from the County of Fairfax said.

Officer Tara Gerhard, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax department, said the sisters had been referred to "services." However, she could not specify what kind of services she would have offered, nor would she specify any further details, relying on data protection laws.

The sisters are both Saudi Arabian citizens, and their nation's Consulate General has been in contact with their family and has appointed a solicitor for the investigation.

Investigators suspected suicide, official says

According to investigators who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity, the investigators have found nothing yet, suggesting that they were victims of a foul play.

Water was found in the sisters' lungs, the official said, which meant they were probably alive when they came into the river. The police said earlier that their bodies showed no signs of trauma.

While the investigators believe that their deaths are suicides, the officials investigate the circumstances.

The New York Police are unwilling to investigate the official cause of death. The authorities are investigating whether the deaths are suicide, homicide or an accident, said Phil Walzak, Deputy Commissioner for New York Police Information.

Did the sisters apply for asylum?

Saudi officials are investigating whether the sisters in the US have applied for asylum, a Saudi official told CNN.

Homeland Security officials refused to comment and referred questions to New York police.

Earlier in the week, the New York Times reported that the Saudi embassy in Washington had called Rotana and Tala's mother to inform them that their daughters had applied for asylum in the United States.

Dermot Shea, police chief of the New York Police said Wednesday that detectives in Virginia interviewed members of the immediate family to find out "what was going on in the lives of the two young women."

"We've made significant progress in putting together pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened," he said.

Dakin Andone, Elise Labott, Athena Jones and Madeleine Thompson of CNN contributed to this report.


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