Saturday, February 2, 2013

Missing American woman found dead in Turkey

ISTANBUL (USA Today) — A New York mother of two was found dead Saturday evening almost two weeks after she was reported missing, Turkish police told USA TODAY.

"It's her," a police official said when asked whether the body belonged to Sarai Sierra, before quickly hanging up without identifying himself. Turkish police have not returned repeated follow-up calls.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that the body of a woman with stab wounds to the abdomen was found at the foot of the ramparts of the city walls in the Sarayburnu district of Istanbul. Police found Sierra's driver's license on the body.

Sierra, 33, on her "dream" trip abroad, was supposed to return to New York on Jan. 22 after two weeks in Turkey. She disappeared after last talking to her family on Jan. 21, when she was supposed to meet a man she had been chatting with for months online at Galata Bridge on the Bosporus.

Turkish media reported police were interrogating 13 individuals detained in connection with the case.

On Friday, police said they had taken a man known only by his online handle "Taylan" into custody for questioning. They did not elaborate on whether he had been charged. It is unclear whether "Taylan" is included in the 13 detained Saturday.

Sierra may have been killed somewhere else, then carried to the site where she was found, according to Turkish media reports.