Saudi sisters killed themselves, says medical examiner

Tala Farea and Rotana Farea

Tala Farea and Rotana Farea

The official cause of death was drowning.

The sisters fled from their home in December 2017 and ended up in a shelter in Fairfax, Virginia, where they had no contact with their families owing to abuse allegations.

An NYPD spokesman said that they stayed in several different upscale hotels and maxed out a credit card while there.

The sisters were found tied together at the ankles and waist by duct tape, dressed all in black in late October.

The tragic and mysterious death of two Saudi Arabian sisters whose bodies were found, taped together, along New York City's waterfront last October appears to have been a double suicide.

A statement from the Chief Medical Examiner's office stated that Tala Farea, 16, and Rotan Farea, 23, "bound themselves together before descending into the Hudson River", Fox 5 reports. He said detectives were informed the sisters expressed a desire to "inflict harm on themselves, commit suicide" rather than return to Saudi Arabia after they had been in the United States about three years, according to the station.

The sisters moved to the US from Saudi Arabia with their mother and two brothers in 2015.

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The sisters were last seen in Virginia on August 24 and were reported missing on September 12.

On Aug. 24, police officers said, the girls traveled to New York City, arriving on September 1.

Law enforcement sources in NY indicated previous year that the sisters "would rather do harm to themselves" than return to their home country.

Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, in Fairfax, but left in the spring. Because of how they were found, the sisters' deaths generated national media attention and speculation that they may have been killed.

Saudi officials have dismissed media reports that their mother had been ordered to return to Saudi Arabia because Rotana and Tala applied for asylum, saying rather that the mother may have to leave the country because of her immigration status.

And as they ran out of money, they chose to take their lives together.

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