I am glad, now, that when I wrote "Saudi sisters' suspicious 'suicide'" (WWW 31/10/18) I didn't use the old joke ending "Worst case of suicide I ever saw." It turns out -- and this is my apology to the family of Tala and Rotana Farea -- that their deaths were not affairs of "honour" after all. New York City police are now saying that the girl, found dead on the banks of the Hudson River on 24 October, preferred suicide over returning to Saudi Arabia. Let that sink in....
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said sources in Virginia, where the Farea sisters had previously been living, informed investigators that the two women had been in the United States for two to three years and would "rather inflict harm on themselves and commit suicide than return to Saudi Arabia.... Everything that we’ve seen thus far is pointing to something other than a crime taking place," he said at a presser this afternoon, "but we're not ruling anything out."
Chief Shea went on to say that detectives believe the women may have applied for asylum in the USA after alleging that they were victims of abuse. A witness told police he saw the women in a park on West 158th Street in Upper Manhattan on the morning of October 24th, while he was out exercising. They were sitting about 30 feet apart with their heads in their hands and appeared to be praying, the witness said. They were seen floating along the Hudson River that afternoon.
The sisters, whose bodies were loosely bound together with duct tape, were found lying on rocks near the river, fully clothed in black jackets with fur trim and black leggings. There were no obvious signs of trauma, and detectives believe the women were alive when they entered the water. Their bodies are believed to have washed ashore with the tide and stayed when it went out, said Chief Shea. The investigation continues, and the medical examiner's office will ultimately determine the cause of the girls' deaths.