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By Jonathan Dienst and Dareh Gregorian
The two Saudi sisters, whose bodies were found tied together in the New York Hudson River, ran out of money and they did not want to go home, the investigators said Friday.
In a briefing at the Lower Manhattan police station, Dermot Shea, head of NYPD detectives, highlighted the mysterious disappearance of the sisters and their macabre deaths, which law enforcement officials called NBC News suicides.
"This is a complete tragedy," Shea told reporters Friday, adding, "There is no credible information that a crime has occurred."
The sisters Rotana Farea (23) and Tala Farea (16) had originally disappeared from their mother's home in Fairfax on August 24, two months before the day before their fully clothed bodies were rinsed on rocks on the Upper West Side of Manhattan , tied at their waists and feet by tape and facing each other.
Timelines for the timeline differed from previous reports. Shea revealed that no sister had lived with her parents since November 30, 2017, when they ran away.
He said there were allegations of abuse against other family members that were not substantiated. However, the couple was removed from the apartment and taken to a "shelter shelter" in Virginia, which resembles a victim of domestic violence, he said.
They stayed there until the 23rd or 24th of August, when they disappeared.
Police were largely able to trace their steps through detective work, but "there are still some gaps to be filled," Shea said.
The older sister's credit card records show that they left for Washington DC and then Philadelphia after leaving Fairfax. They arrived in New York on September 1-11, before they were reported missing.
Shea said the sisters stayed at a number of "high-end hotels" in Manhattan and used the credit card to go shopping and order their meals together.
Detectives are also investigating that they have applied for asylum to stay in the United States. Detectives was told that the sisters said earlier that "they would rather do harm, commit suicide than return to Saudi Arabia," Shea said.
The deportation was "a fear of them," he added.
In the video, the police could receive the couple about a week before their death, it did not seem to be in distress, and it seemed "healthy and alone".
But that may have changed in the following days – Shea said, "There is a possibility that money was going out" because the older sister had used up her credit card.
The police said a witness said he saw the couple at a playground near the river in Manhattan's Riverside Park in the morning when their bodies were found. They sat about 30 meters apart and had their hands in their heads. They seemed to pray.
Shea said the witness, who seemed believable, described the scene as "insistent."
Shea noted, "You could go straight into the water," near the area where they were seen.
NYPD investigators said Thursday the sisters seemed to have been alive when they entered the river because their lungs were filled with water and there was no obvious sign of trauma. The doctor's office examines the cause of death. A police officer told NBC News that suicide remains "a leading theory".
The couple arrived in the US in 2015 with their mother and brothers, all of whom are citizens of Saudi Arabia, according to police.
"The citizens were students who accompanied their brother in Washington," said the Saudi Consulate General in a statement earlier this week.
Added to the puzzle, the Associated Press reported that her mother told the detectives that she had received a phone call from an official from the Saudi Arabian Embassy the day before the bodies were found, requesting the family to leave the US. because the daughters had applied for political asylum.
Shea said Friday he could not confirm this report and was not sure where his parents are right now.
The New York State Consulate General said in its statement earlier this week that it had "appointed a lawyer to follow the case closely."