This story does not have a happy ending. Ever since Sarai Sierra, a Staten Island student and mom of two children has been missing, all kind of speculation from kidnapping to rape to suicide have surfaced in the media. Now it seems that her two week vacation in Turkey has come to a tragic end. The New York City mom who went missing while visiting Turkey was found dead Saturday, according to the Turkish state-run news agency. This news was reported on MSN.
The Anadolu Agency reported that residents discovered a woman’s body near ancient 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 broadcast station 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, although another news agency said it appeared she had died of a blow to the head.
Sierra had not been in contact with her family since January 21, the day before she was supposed to fly home after a two-week vacation. She left for Turkey on January 7 alone, because a friend had dropped out of the trip, added MSN. She wanted to pursue her photography hobby. An Instagram account she set up over the summer, with images of scenes around New York City, had developed a strong following.
During her two-week trip abroad, Sierra also visited the Netherlands and Munich, Germany, according to the Associated Press (AP).
At least nine people were detained at the crime scene, police sources told Hurriyet Daily News in Turkey. Two of those detained were women, the AP reported. Sierra’s family remained hopeful that she was alive because her telephone was twice activated after she disappeared, according to Hurriyet, in today's report on MSN.
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. The bridge was a short distance from where Sierra's body was found, added the report.
The man was released after being questioned. It was unclear whether he was among the 10 arrested after the body was found. 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. Sadly they found her, but certainly not in the way they expected. We on Staten Island and on www.examiner.com mourn her loss and offer condolences for her family.