Report: Body of missing New York City mom found in Turkey
Family photo via AP
Sarai Sierra in an undated family photo
The body of a missing 33-year-old New York woman was found Saturday morning in Istanbul, according to the Turkish state-run news agency.
The Anadolu Agency reported that residents discovered a woman’s body near the city walls of the Fatih district, a historic and working-class area in Istanbul. Police identified the body as that of Sarai Sierra, a mother of two from Staten Island.
The private news broadcaster NTV reported that she had been stabbed to death, and that police had identified her by her driver’s license, according to The Associated Press.
Sierra had not been in contact with her family since Jan. 21, the day before she was supposed to fly home after a two-week vacation. She left for Turkey on Jan. 7 – alone, because a friend had dropped out of the trip.
At least 10 people were detained at the crime scene, police sources told Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey.
Sierra’s family remained hopeful that she was alive because her telephone was twice activated after she disappeared, according to Hurriyet.
Police briefly detained a man last week who exchanged messages with Sierra online. The man had contacted her and made plans to meet with her on a bridge she wanted to photograph, according to Hurriyet. He has since been released.
Sierra’s husband, Steven Sierra, said she stayed in close touch with him and their children, ages 9 and 11, by phone and by Skype. After she didn’t arrive at the airport as planned, Steven Sierra and his brother-in-law David Jimenez booked one-way tickets to Turkey to look for her.