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  1. #1
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    Turkey - Sarai Sierra, 33, NY woman murdered, Istanbul, 21 Jan 2013 - #1

    Sarai Sierra, a mother of two who enjoys photography, was looking forward to her trip and arrived in Istanbul on Jan. 7. She was supposed to return to New York on Jan. 21.
    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local...188580261.html




    A couple more links:

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/01/...ing-in-turkey/



    http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...235_story.html


    Her passport and medical cards were found in her hotel room. She was traveling alone but skyped with her husband daily. The last he heard she said she was going to the Galeta bridge (a well-known tourist destination in Instanbul).


    Note to mods: I couldn't post this thread without picking a prefix, but none of them fit this case. Is there one you would suggest?
    Last edited by Snoopster; 01-27-2013 at 12:44 PM. Reason: fix image link
    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    Therefore, send not to know, for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.
    ~John Dunne


    #TeamCivilization

  2. #2
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    Oh gosh this is tough one.
    It is a big enough challenge when a person in missing from their own locale. What a nightmare to go missing in a foreign country. Before I had more than a few countries stamped on my passport, I admit to putting myself in some precarious situations while traveling, simply out of ignorance and naiveté. Perhaps that was the case here. I pray Sarai Sierra is safe, and that we get more info soon.
    One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.
    John F. Kennedy

  3. #3
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    Here is Sarai's instagram account. She has taken some wonderful photos. This account seems to be all photos of NYC. I wonder if she has posted recent photos taken in Istanbul somewhere.

    http://statigr.am/memyself_sarai


    Sarai appears to have a very large online community of friends on Instagram. If you click on the first photo you will see many comments from friends and others.

    She belongs to a group called @_made_in_NYers. Many of them have posted photos of her for sharing and getting her information out there, particularly in Istanbul.

    Here is her brother's IG account and a photo of Sarai that he has asked people to share.


    http://statigr.am/p/376809509984850632_2337227

    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    Therefore, send not to know, for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.
    ~John Dunne


    #TeamCivilization

  4. #4
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    snipped...He and his in-laws had trouble holding back their tears as they talked about this mother of two young boys who had traveled abroad for the first time in her life to "experience something outside the box," her husband said.

    Mrs. Sierra arrived in Istanbul on Jan. 7. She was originally supposed to travel with a close friend, but the friend backed out at the last minute, her husband said. With the trip already paid for, Mrs. Sierra decided to go alone. She stayed in a hostel ...

    ...Turkish police have searched the apartment where Mrs. Sierra stayed, Sierra said. Her passport, medical cards and phone chargers were still in the room. The owner of the hostel told authorities that he last saw Mrs. Sierra on Sunday evening.


    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf...oes_missi.html
    Don't believe EVERYTHING you think.[/CENTER]

  5. #5
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    In the comments under the link above there's an interesting report posted:

    Istanbul’s Crime Conundrum

    snipped...The Turkish metropolis is one of the world’s safest big cities—but burglaries are booming. Why?

    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_...bul-crime.html

    ETA additional 411: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p.../cis_1046.html
    Don't believe EVERYTHING you think.[/CENTER]

  6. #6
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    SAfety ?

    I traveled "alone" in Turkey. always safe. Difference, I am male, had friends there and watched my back.
    Females traveling alone anywhere are at a much greater risk for difficulties.
    Please don;'t think that American values travel with you when you leave the USA.
    If anyone has personal contacts there , use them. Don't expect much from the police.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoopster View Post
    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local...188580261.html



    A couple more links:

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/01/...ing-in-turkey/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...235_story.html

    Her passport and medical cards were found in her hotel room. She was traveling alone but skyped with her husband daily. The last he heard she said she was going to the Galeta bridge (a well-known tourist destination in Instanbul).
    I was just in Turkey last October and it seemed quite safe to me. I was traveling with another female but we split up and did our own thing quite often--for instance, I went to the Galata Bridge on my own one night, had dinner and then walked back to Cihangir (the neighborhood where we rented an apartment). If she's from NYC she probably has some street smarts.

    I do hope she's okay--the fact that her passport was left in the hotel room doesn't seem very hopeful.

  8. #8
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    I don't think this link has been posted yet:

    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf...oes_missi.html

    snipped: Her last communication home came through an instant message conversation with her sister on Monday morning.

    I know IMs are often suspect but if she's gotten into trouble with a non-English speaker I doubt they could have carried out an IM conversation with her sister without arousing suspicion.

    whoops, just saw tarabull did post this link.
    Last edited by radiator; 01-27-2013 at 04:41 PM. Reason: added

  9. #9
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    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local...188580261.html


    Quotes from the NBC link:

    Sierra's father went to pick her up at the airport and "waited there for hours" with no sign of his daughter, Jimenez said.
    The trip had passed smoothly with Sierra in regular contact with her family and friends through text messaging and phone calls.

    "She would always call and let us know, 'This is what I did today,'" Sierra's mother said.

    When she didn't show up at the airport, her husband said he called the hostel where she had been staying. The owner checked her room and saw that her passport, equipment chargers and other items were still there.
    This sequence of events is becoming a common pattern in regards to disappearances in foreign countries:

    1. The family doesn't realize that the person is missing until a flight is missed;
    2. The missing person does remain in contact with the family or friends until a relatively short period of time before planned return to US;
    3. Electronics equipment found in hotel/hostel accommodation;
    4. The person is almost always traveling alone.

    SS had only been in Turkey since January 7. Could she have come into contact with some group? Mideast tensions are flowing into Turkey right now. Although the Turkish government supports Israel in its conflict with Syria, and unfortunately we have also been drawn unnecessarily into Israel's war; the Turkish people generally support the Syrian people.

    Link: http://presstv.com/detail/2013/01/21...nato-protests/

    January 21, 2013

    Police arrested 25 protesters on Monday after they tried to get through the barricades at Incirlik Air Force Base in the city of Adana, where US troops are assembling two Patriot missile batteries to be later deployed in Gaziantep near Syria’s border.

    Protests were also held in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara outside the US embassy, where angry protesters condemned what they called Ankara’s interventionist policies towards Syria.

  10. #10
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    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarabull View Post
    snipped...He and his in-laws had trouble holding back their tears as they talked about this mother of two young boys who had traveled abroad for the first time in her life to "experience something outside the box," her husband said.

    Mrs. Sierra arrived in Istanbul on Jan. 7. She was originally supposed to travel with a close friend, but the friend backed out at the last minute, her husband said. With the trip already paid for, Mrs. Sierra decided to go alone. She stayed in a hostel ...

    ...Turkish police have searched the apartment where Mrs. Sierra stayed, Sierra said. Her passport, medical cards and phone chargers were still in the room. The owner of the hostel told authorities that he last saw Mrs. Sierra on Sunday evening.


    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf...oes_missi.html
    Quote Originally Posted by radiator View Post
    I was just in Turkey last October and it seemed quite safe to me. I was traveling with another female but we split up and did our own thing quite often--for instance, I went to the Galata Bridge on my own one night, had dinner and then walked back to Cihangir (the neighborhood where we rented an apartment). If she's from NYC she probably has some street smarts.

    I do hope she's okay--the fact that her passport was left in the hotel room doesn't seem very hopeful.
    bbm

    I think Turkey is generally safe - we have some family friends who just returned from living there for several years. However, what concerns me if what tarabull posted --- this was her first time overseas AND she was alone AND she was staying in a hostel. I'm afraid her inexperience led her to trouble... ... but I hope she is found safe/alive.
    Fly high and free, Jhessye ~

    My posts are meant to help think through possibilities and are strictly an additional opinion under circumstances when many points of view need to be considered. I apologize in advance to anyone whose potential involvement is contemplated in error. Please understand that much of what is happening is merely brainstorming during unfortunate events.


  11. #11
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    I am very concerned for this family! JMO ... I cannot imagine this young wife and mother subjecting herself to the dangers of traveling alone in any foreign country, especially in the Middle East area ... Photography?? ...

  12. #12
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    It seems as if the only people she "knew" there, could have been the people in the hostel. I hope the local police are interviewing everyone there thoroughly.

    Didn't the hostel think it strange that she had not checked out, when she said she was going to, and didn't they go to clean the room before her relatives called and asked them to search?

    Istanbul is a very popular tourist destination and there would have been lots of english speaking tourists around, so there would be an opportunity to meet new people, but I think if she had got friendly with any fellow travellers, she would have mentioned it to her family.

    I do think it a bit odd, that it was so close to when she was leaving, that she went missing.

  13. #13
    belimom's Avatar
    belimom is offline Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ~MLK Jr
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    I found this little blurb that concerns me:

    Sarai, who is 5-foot-2 and 110 pounds and has competed in triathlons, has fainted without warning from dehydration in the past, Rodriguez said.

    “The only thing I can think of is she's hurt,” Rodriguez said of her disappearance. “Maybe she fainted.”

    http://privateinvesigations.blogspot...in-turkey.html
    Fly high and free, Jhessye ~

    My posts are meant to help think through possibilities and are strictly an additional opinion under circumstances when many points of view need to be considered. I apologize in advance to anyone whose potential involvement is contemplated in error. Please understand that much of what is happening is merely brainstorming during unfortunate events.

  14. #14
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    I'm wondering if it's even remotely possible that her disappearance has anything to do with religion. In one of the articles posted upthread it says that 99.8% of Turkey is Muslim. Sarai, in contrast, met her husband in a church youth group. Is it possible that some fringe-group targeted her because she's Christian and foreign? I doubt she'd have had any contact with a group like that had she stayed in a more "mainstream" location like a hotel, but hostels do tend to have some interesting people. When I "backpacked" through Europe/Eastern Europe in the '90s, I met the most interesting (and yes, occasionally bizarre and frightening) people in hostels. Just a thought.

  15. #15
    belimom's Avatar
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    Here's something else that I hadn't picked up on before, but I don't know if it's significant. Her iPhone and iPad were not in the room. How about her camera? I'm assuming she went off with it to take some pictures...

    bbm

    Some of the missing woman's belongings, including her passport, were found in her room in Istanbul, though her iPhone and iPad were not there, according to her husband.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/27/world/...html?hpt=hp_t2
    Fly high and free, Jhessye ~

    My posts are meant to help think through possibilities and are strictly an additional opinion under circumstances when many points of view need to be considered. I apologize in advance to anyone whose potential involvement is contemplated in error. Please understand that much of what is happening is merely brainstorming during unfortunate events.

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