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Mystery surrounds deaths of Saudi sisters found in NY

Mystery surrounds deaths of Saudi sisters found in NY

A day before their bodies were discovered, their mother told detectives she had received a call from an official at the Saudi Arabian embassy, ordering the family to leave the U.S. because her daughters had applied for political asylum, NY police said.

The pair, born in Jeddah, were living until the summer in Fairfax, Virginia.

Police also urged anyone who saw the sisters between August 24 and October 24 - the timeframe of when they were reported missing to when their bodies were discovered - to come forward with information.

The women's bodies washed up along the banks of the Hudson River in Riverside Park, on the Upper West Side, Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma on their bodies, adding that both had been reported missing multiple times in the past, and had recently requested asylum in the US.

At a briefing Wednesday, police said the medical examiner determined the sisters were alive when they entered the water.

Both had been students and Rotana had been studying at George Mason University before she left in the spring.

A post on the center's website noted that Tala might have been with Rotana.

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Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Police had originally theorised that the girls may have jumped from the George Washington Bridge, but ruled that out after finding a lack of obvious injuries which they would have sustained in the fall.

The Hudson River separates NY from New Jersey, and police were scouring the river banks to see if they can establish where the sisters entered the water.

The Saudi consulate-general in NY said it was "conducting a continuous follow-up to find out the facts" regarding the incident, according to a statement shared by Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

Furthermore, a Saudi official at the kingdom's embassy in Washington DC categorically denied to Arab News that the embassy had made any calls to the mother with regards to her alleged daughters' political asylum claim.

According to the NYPD, the two dead girls had previously spent time in a shelter after going missing once before in December 2017.

Fairfax police confirmed to DailyMail.com that at least one Farea sister was reported missing by family.

Saudi Arabia's consulate-general in NY has appointed an attorney "to follow the case closely".

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