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

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by Snoopster, Jan 27, 2013.

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  1. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Staten-Island-Woman-Sarai-Sierra-Missing-Turkey-188580261.html

    [​IMG]


    A couple more links:

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/01/26/family-staten-island-mother-of-two-missing-in-turkey/



    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/family-of-ny-woman-33-says-she-disappeared-while-traveling-alone-in-turkey/2013/01/27/c886cad0-6841-11e2-83c7-38d5fac94235_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?
     
    FrostOwl likes this.


  2. CocoChanel

    CocoChanel Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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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.
     
  3. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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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

    [​IMG]
     
  4. tarabull

    tarabull Life is a puzzle.

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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/2013/01/staten_island_woman_goes_missi.html
     
  5. tarabull

    tarabull Life is a puzzle.

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  6. noah777

    noah777 New Member

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    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. radiator

    radiator Member

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    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. radiator

    radiator Member

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

    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/staten_island_woman_goes_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.
     
  9. Walker

    Walker New Member

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    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Staten-Island-Woman-Sarai-Sierra-Missing-Turkey-188580261.html


    Quotes from the NBC link:

    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/2013/01/21/284791/arrested-in-turkey-nato-protests/

    January 21, 2013

    [​IMG]
     
  10. belimom

    belimom Speak the truth even if your voice shakes~M.Kuhn

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    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.
     
  11. southernnana

    southernnana New Member

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    :praying:

    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?? ... :fence:
     
  12. Dion

    Dion Well-Known Member

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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. belimom

    belimom Speak the truth even if your voice shakes~M.Kuhn

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  14. CMac2

    CMac2 Well-Known Member

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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. belimom

    belimom Speak the truth even if your voice shakes~M.Kuhn

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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

     
  16. radiator

    radiator Member

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    I really doubt this is the case. Istanbul is very cosmopolitan and non-secular. I was in a few towns in Turkey that had more conservative Muslims but even there I didn't get any sense of hostility or wariness of foreigners. Also, I don't even know if Sarai is Christian so I don't know how she would have been picked out of the many, many tourists and expats in Istanbul.

    Also, to address the Syrian thing--Istanbul is thousands and thousands of miles from the Syrian border.
     
  17. ami

    ami New Member

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    American values? People are murdered in the US all the time. Even men watching their backs get murdered.

    In looking at her pictures, she doesn't stand out as "American" to me at a glance. I can't imagine her being pinpointed as American randomly on the street... as far as what she left behind, it sounds like the typical things you'd leave if you went out exploring - phones have been charged, copy of the passport in your bag, camera with you, everything else left behind. Something must have happened to her on that day. Really scary.
     
  18. Walker

    Walker New Member

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    Yes, here is a good map:

    [​IMG]

    The protests are general over Turkey though. Some German soldiers deployed to work on US Patriot missiles in Turkey were recently attacked.

    [​IMG]

    SS may have gotten caught up in some group, and met with a wrong-place wrong-time situation. Taking pictures of the bridge and perhaps other infra-structure might have caused suspicion.
     
  19. Snoopster

    Snoopster Well-Known Member

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    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/husband-brother-missing-staten-island-woman-heading-turkey-hunt-article-1.1248989

    Has anyone seen any mention of what specific hostel Sarai was staying at? Were there other IGers staying there to or were most of them local?

    Do her family members have the names of the IGers she was going to meet up with?

    I think this is a case of running into the wrong person, rather than anything specific to do with Turkey or Istanbul. While I suspect foul play, I hope that she just got a case of wanderlust.
     
  20. Walker

    Walker New Member

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    Quote from the same link:
    Why did the friend back out? And, what about the graffiti interested her? Could she read Turkish? Does Instagram have any particular reputation, other than just a website to share photos?
     
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