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

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ToutCa

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http://abcnews.go.com/International...g-american-mom-found-turkey/story?id=18386394

Depending on which news source you read, there was either a phone or not a phone left in her room. ABC News makes no mention of it, so it's just a question mark at this stage, neither proven nor disproven (if that's even a word).

Turkish LE has said consistently, all along, that a phone was discovered in her room. It had local service and since she left it, they could not ping her.

She took with her: her iPad and her "American phone".
 

Yellow

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Huh?

Why would her husband's opinion and vetting of them be better than hers?

It is not, and I did not mean to imply it was. Her husbands actual contact w these people, i think, does speak to why she might have felt safe bc these people would be unlikely to try anything if they knew someone else - whether it be her husband, family,etc- knew where she was.

It also confirms that some vetting indeed took place, that at least some people were talked to on the phone ahead of time, that the people in Amsterdam at least knew she was married (debunking any kind of speculation of some affair or that she ran off w someone, as some posters in this site implied - i only wish that was the case now), that her family knew the names and phone numbers of at least some of the people, etc. It lets us know that it was not just her meeting random people on some site & arranging to meet them in person, without any one knowing where she was, but rather that vetting took place...

If that was the case for everyone she met, it makes it less likely that one of these strangers would have tried something. For instances if that Turkish man knows SS's husband has his name and phone number, I doubt he would have done anything to her (planned out at least) because he would know he would be caught. However, if Turkish man had no contact w her husband and only w her, then maybe he would have done something bc if only she knew who he was, it would make it difficult to catch him

Whether or not husband actually had contact w these people is very relevant I think bc I think it decreases the likelihood that they would have tried anything bc they would get caught quite easily...which is probably the reason why SS might have felt safe, bc she knew her family knew who she was with.

It would be interesting to see how much husband knew of the Turkish guy. I think maybe he did not know about him in detail bc otherwise he would have had his address and police would not have had to rely on IP address to find him. Otherwise, if husband knew his real name and address that, I think, makes it more likely that this was just a random attack bc if husband knew him, why would he have killed SS knowing he would be prime suspect?
 

LaborDayRN

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She says "Tuesday night I went to my brother/sister's house for dinner. On the way back 23:00 to 23:30 there was a car parked under the city walls. I saw a man either putting in or taking out something from the back seat. When it moved I saw a hand. Tuesday night.

-Why you haven't reported?

My daughter had stopped me. She said mum you must have seen it wrong. I was the one were driving so ...

-Did you take the car plate?

No we didn't.
It was something like a sahin or dogan. It wasn't a new car, it was old.

When I saw the news I called my daughter. I told her that I've seen a body...

There was only 1 man. He was above middle age. That's it."

Lavy, I just wanted to say thank you for your insight into the area as well as the language.
 

CocoChanel

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I just don't see the drug mule angle. As I've mentioned before, gold or antiquities, maybe, but I just don't see this woman transporting drugs.

Now, if she was smuggling drugs and was planning on bringing an item of jewelry home in lieu of the cash... why keep the receipt? She'd have to pay duty on that much stuff. The limit on objects brought back into the US in most cases is $800 per person, unless purchased in a duty free shop.

Respectfully, an individual who is already involved in a drug smuggling scheme is not going to be concerned with following the law on the limit of items of value brought back into the US. PLEASE KNOW I AM NOT ACCUSING THE VICTIM OF BEING INVOLVED WITH DRUG SMUGGLING. SS remains a tragic victim of a terrible crime while traveling abroad. Just pointing out my opinion of that any drug smuggler is unlikely to be concerned about customs law.
 

necco

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Respectfully, an individual who is already involved in a drug smuggling scheme is not going to be concerned with following the law on the limit of items of value brought back into the US. PLEASE KNOW I AM NOT ACCUSING THE VICTIM OF BEING INVOLVED WITH DRUG SMUGGLING. SS remains a tragic victim of a terrible crime while traveling abroad. Just pointing out my opinion of that any drug smuggler is unlikely to be concerned about customs law.

Coco, that's actually what I'm saying. Why keep the receipt(s)?
 

ToutCa

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Reasons to doubt the drug mule theory:
--No evidence for it yet, only speculation
--Maybe "preliminary check" of the body is too rudimentary to show sexual assault. We should wait until a more full report comes out tomorrow.
--Why does the large amount SS spent keep growing? One day the Turkish press says it's $10,000 and the next day it's $12,000 and the next day it's $15,000? Come on! If the receipts were in her room, there should have been no doubt and the amount should have been stable from the day the room was searched forward.
--Turkish power interests don't want bad PR of a sex-slaying, and would greatly prefer for this to be a criminal killed in the pursuance of their shady dealings.
--Taylan/TK seemed so shady, conveniently calling SS to meet him and then somehow missing her right at the moment she mysteriously vanished. And this is supposed to be coincidence?

Let's take a deep breath. Tomorrow should bring some more REAL information. Nothing is proven, and nothing is officially even alleged yet. All that is certain is that a family has to deal with an incomprehensible loss tonight...please do keep that in mind moving forward.
 

GinaSeikwa

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I honestly don't know what to think anymore. FWIW a co-worker of mine was a drug mule and ultimately was caught and convicted after smuggling drugs into London. After her "drop off" she was caught on CCTV spending gobs of money at Harrods, Burberry and other high end stores buying purses, shoes and jewelry. The cctv footage was used against her in court and I always wondered how she could be so " cool as a cucumber " shopping the day away.
 

necco

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I wonder if her tour guide in Amsterdam and Turkish dude know each other from the same online community she met them both... (Forgive me if this has been covered already)
 

KivaSupporter

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Coco, that's actually what I'm saying. Why keep the receipt(s)?

Here is a thought:

Maybe police did not find the receipts in the room she was renting.

We learned police was checking security cameras to determine where she went and they did mention they were able to determine where she shopped. Maybe they interviewed employees at these shops and they provided the receipts.

Just another theory. MOO.
 

ToutCa

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I wonder if her tour guide in Amsterdam and Turkish dude know each other from the same online community she met them both... (Forgive me if this has been covered already)

Interesting question. Someone wayyyy upthread posted that the Amsterdam guy wrote on his Instagram that the Turkish guy was the last to "see" SS. In that post he used the Turkish guy's Instagram ID.

He therefore knew who he was at that point. But I haven't heard any info about them being Instagram buddies prior to that. No way to tell now, as the Turkish guy's Instagram is now private.
 

necco

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Here is a thought:

Maybe police did not find the receipts in the room she was renting.

We learned police was checking security cameras to determine where she went and they did mention they were able to determine where she shopped. Maybe they interviewed employees at these shops and they provided the receipts.

Just another theory. MOO.

Oh. Duh. Yeah, I didn't think of that.

I do still doubt it though, because she could have brought $9,999 dollars back to the US without declaring it.

I wonder if the difference in the amount of money that the press is saying she spent (if she spent money) has to do with currency conversions.
$1 US -> 1.35 euro -> 1.75 turkish lira

Just a thought
 

Snoopster

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I have no idea what's going on here, but I agree with others that if you were in the drug smuggling business you wouldn't keep receipts for $15,000 in your room. I do think it's sensationalism by the Turkish press.

I also believe that Turkey is VERY sensitive to their image with travelers and will spin any tale to save their public reputation with tourists. They don't want it tarnished by a murder of a female American tourist. They need the almighty tourist dollar.

I also believe that Americans, in general (yes, a HUGE generalization on my part and I would be the first to admit that there is a solid minority/majority who don't think this way), think that Turkey is a dangerous spot, when it is not any more dangerous than most places. (Look Martha!... it's a moooooslum country. How could that woman go to that horrible country? She must be a prostitute or a drug mule! Maybe she's one of THEM!)

So, between Turkish concern about their image in the western world and the negative image they would 'naturally' have in America, I'm not surprised that this is national news in Turkey and I wouldn't be surprised if there is 'misinformation' out there in the media, including distortions of the truth.

Could SS have been involved in something nefarious? Yes, it's a possibility.

Could some wild religious or political radical, or just a plain old Turkish man, have jumped on a naive American woman? Yes, it's a possiblity.

Could SS have simply been too naive a traveler and succumbed to a terrible internet predator? Of course.

Could SS have simply been the victim of a deranged individual, just like the rare deranged individuals in the western world? You bet!

I am just concerned that we are making this one event out to be a reflection on Turkey and a reflection on a 'wife who went off without her husband and children'.

I will acknowledge right here and now that I do tend to the naive side, looking for the good in people. Deep down I know that I am much too naive and presuming of 'goodness' in others, but I just don't want to give up that view.

Let the reality begin. Please pile on to show me how the world really works, because I know that my view is a bit simplistic. :blush:
 

cluciano63

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Don't you have to show receipts at customs for expensive purchases, like art, etc.?
 

necco

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Don't you have to show receipts at customs for expensive purchases, like art, etc.?

In theory, you can be asked to show your receipts for everything. And the objects themselves. In practice, they rarely ask for them until you've got something valuable. If you write "misc. tourist junk - $100" on the form, chances are you won't need to show them your receipts for 3 tacky t-shirts, 4 pins and a shot glass.
 

frenchvixen

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Don't you have to show receipts at customs for expensive purchases, like art, etc.?

Yes, you do. There is a form given on the plane returning to the States and those expensive items must be declared. Doesn't mean that people declare them. What I don't understand is let's say she was paid $15k for smuggling. How does buying a high end item help her if she needs the money? Was she intending on selling it once she returns to the States? Problem is that she may not get the same price that she paid for it. Also, why would she keep the receipts? Unless she got paid the cash when she arrived to Turkey for smuggling and then blew it in Europe since she knew that she couldn't enter the States with all that money.
 

KivaSupporter

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Oh. Duh. Yeah, I didn't think of that.

I do still doubt it though, because she could have brought $9,999 dollars back to the US without declaring it.

I wonder if the difference in the amount of money that the press is saying she spent (if she spent money) has to do with currency conversions.
$1 US -> 1.35 euro -> 1.75 turkish lira

Just a thought

Yes, I agree. But maybe she planned to wear the jewelry, as if it were not new but something she had when leaving the US, and not declare it. I am only speculating.
 

Walker

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Not sure I would look to Walter Scott for my moral parables. Dubious choice.


My comment was not directed at morality. Why do you oppose Scott?

But as for SS, it's best not to trust any media or anyone else right now as we try to make sense of her tragic fate. We know precious little of who she was, so none of us should rush to judge what happened, or what this person was up to, or what she was all about in the world. Hopefully, we will learn more as the days go by and gain something in the learning.

My point with the Scott quote was the US/Euro tourists, esp. female, do not realize how (usually bad) they look in the eyes of the local people.
 

lavy

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It is also suspicious that her drivers license was placed nearby, almost as if the killer wanted her to be found and identified in the press. Perhaps as a warning to others.

True but we still don't know if her wallet, iphone and ipad were there when she was found. I guess not but still we dont know. Maybe they left her wallet with the licence in it.

It would be interesting to see how much husband knew of the Turkish guy. I think maybe he did not know about him in detail bc otherwise he would have had his address and police would not have had to rely on IP address to find him. Otherwise, if husband knew his real name and address that, I think, makes it more likely that this was just a random attack bc if husband knew him, why would he have killed SS knowing he would be prime suspect?

Again it could be turkish media speculating but I've read (still have the link) that her husband has the password for her gmail. When she didn't show up at the airport he emailed Taylan asking "where is my wife?" and Taylan shortly answered "i dont know".

*That makes me think now why Taylan didn't said something like " I don't know did something happened?" Wouldn't you worry for a person you met at least 2-3 times and have been chatting for 4 months? I would say maybe his english is not good but that would be stupid as he was talking to Sarai all this time... I could go on like this forever.

My point with the Scott quote was the US/Euro tourists, esp. female, do not realize how (usually bad) they look in the eyes of the local people.

Why would it make a difference? Please remember that they are very touristic areas and local people either working in a tourism related business or very used to seeing tourists from all over the world.


Let's take a deep breath. Tomorrow should bring some more REAL information. Nothing is proven, and nothing is officially even alleged yet. All that is certain is that a family has to deal with an incomprehensible loss tonight...please do keep that in mind moving forward.

Very well said. I just hope that people who are responsible of this crime will be found & arrested soon.

Also it is 5 am in Turkey now and I am sure that there will be some updates in the morning (in few hours).

Lavy, I just wanted to say thank you for your insight into the area as well as the language.

Thanks :)
 

Walker

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I'll translate few updates from the links below. Just to provide something better than google translation.

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/22509010.asp

It says the reason for her death was the hit she got to her head.
They found receipts which add up to 15,000$ and this is just too much for her and her husband's (mentioned that he is a bus driver) income. They are now considering drug smuggling as it is fairly common that American women to be used to carry drugs from europe to turkey. It could be related to an international drug mafia which always use American women. Says women usually earn abou 10,000$ each time.

They risk their lives for only $10K?
 
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