The Istanbul Public Security Branch Office confirmed on Feb. 3, 2013 that Sarai Sierra's cause of death was due to a blow to the head that broke open her skull. And Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said on Sunday that the New York City woman who went missing while in the country was still being autopsied, but "it was clear the head injury caused her death," CBS News reported.
Deputy manager Yener Ulguto told the Hurriyet Daily News that the American woman's body was sent to the Istanbul forensic medical team on Saturday evening for autopsy, but from the crime scene it appeared no sexual assault took place.
Ulguto also said that there were no other injuries sustained by Sierra other than the cracked skull, despite reports to the contrary by news media about stomach stabbings. Ulguto added that there was no evidence found to support the theory that the victim was a "drug carrier."
Interpol wants to know who the victim last contacted, reaching out to Google for her Gmail account information. And in the meantime police are asking 22 people to provide testimony in the case rather than the original nine people reported earlier. Two of the 22 people are females.
Sarai Sierra's computer tablet and smart phone are both missing. But a golden ring, a golden wristband and a necklace were left undisturbed on the victim's body at the crime scene in the Sarayburnu district of Istanbul, near the Galata Bridge.
Police suspect the crime may have occurred at another location due to a blanket found with the body, but they are unsure at present where the primary crime scene may have been.
Estimation of time of death is still being determined, as police think a Jan. 21 death would have led to greater body decomposition if the victim had been housed indoors upon her disappearance that day. However, the cold weather in the region could have slowed decomposition police say if Sarai Sierra was killed and left at the old city walls when she first disappeared.
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