Created on: February 04, 2013
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is playing a lead role into the investigation of the death of Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old New York City mother of two who was found dead in Istanbul, Turkey during a vacation, according to CNN.
On Monday, Turkish authorities completed an autopsy of the Puerto Rican woman, who went missing on Jan. 21 and was found dead 12 days later near the remains of ancient city walls. Local officials say she died from a fatal blow to the head.
Istanbul prosecutors have already received a court order to take DNA and blood samples from 21 individuals who have been questioned in the death of Sierra. The names of the persons in question have not been made public, reports the Associated Press.
New York Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, a former agent for the FBI, confirmed that U.S. investigators were invited by Turkish leaders to play a significant part to solve the incident involving Sierra. Betzaida and Dennis Jimenez, Sierra’s parents, say the family’s immediate concern and No. 1 priority is to return her body back to the United States. Steven, her husband, is presently in Turkey and plans to help return her body, but the family is questioning how to fund the transportation.
“Our community mourns the loss of a beloved wife, daughter, and mother of two children; as we are deeply saddened to hear the news of Sarai Sierra’s death,” Congressman Grimm said at a press conference in Staten Island on Monday, reports Fox News.
Speaking with NBC’s Today Show, Sierra’s mother, who noted that it was Sierra’s first trip overseas, said the children, nine and 11 years old, still do not know about what happened to their mother. Their father plans to tell them when he returns to New York.
“She wanted to go take pictures of the history of the place and she was interested in taking pictures of the bridges,” explained Jimenez in an interview. “She was fascinated with the bridges.”
Meanwhile, Maggie Rodriguez, a friend of Sierra’s, says she feels at fault for what happened to her because she was originally supposed to travel to Turkey as well but backed out due to financial reasons.
“If I went with her, maybe this wouldn't have happened,” said Rodriguez in an interview with the Staten Island Advance. “Maybe we would have went to a different spot that day. Maybe we'd be sitting in a cafe, just chit chatting with each other.”
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