Last week, the bodies of Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 22, were discovered in the Hudson River. In a gruesome turn of events, the girls had been duct-taped together, facing one another. Authorities have revealed that the two Saudi natives had recently applied for US asylum.
Despite the outrageously suspicious circumstances surrounding their death, authorities have been cautious to not draw any conclusions related to hate crimes, or criminal activity. At one point, investigators had suggested that it was too early to tell if a legitimate crime had occurred, or if Tala and Rotana’s deaths were a result of suicide. I think it’s safe to say that it is a rare, if not non-existent occurrence, for victims of suicide to duct-tape themselves the way these girls had been. Additionally, since then, the medical examiner has ruled out that the girls may have jumped off the bridge due to a lack of corroborating injuries.
The sisters had moved from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Fairfax, VA in 2015. According to family members, and neighbors, the girls had a history of running away. Last year, the sisters were reported missing, and found a day later. A year later, on August 24th, the sisters went missing from Fairfax once more. Their panicked mother contacted authorities in hopes of finding them. It was through this search process that authorities eventually discovered that the sisters had applied for political asylum status. However, media outlets have been hesitant to mention the sisters’ immigration status. I can’t help but wonder why? Does their history of behavior not hint at something bigger, more sinister than a simple runaway game? Does the fact that Tala and Rotana died, duct-taped together, after having applied for asylum, not depict a more sinister story?
Reports surrounding this tragic mystery have been able to confirm that the younger sister, Tala, went to visit Rotana, who was away at college in New York. Officially, the circumstances that lead the sisters to be duct-taped, fully-clothed, and in the Hudson river are still unknown. An autopsy on the bodies led investigators to believe that Tala and Rotana were alive when they entered the water.
The tragic death of Tala and Rotana come at a time where religious communities are suffering from many a great loss. May these souls rest in peace and to the family, we send our deepest condolences!
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un