The Saudi sisters found dead and duct-taped together on the banks of the Hudson River arrived in New York two months ago from Philadelphia, their credit card records show.
Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, were last seen together August 24 in Fairfax, Virginia, according to the New York Police Department.
Detectives tracing their credit card usage discovered that they first went to Washington and then Philadelphia before arriving in New York on September 1, police said.
Investigators are struggling to piece together the mystery of how two sisters from Saudi Arabia who lived in Virginia ended up dead with their feet and waists tied together on a riverbank in New York.
Police discovered their bodies October 24.
Sisters had disappeared once before
As puzzled investigators search for answers, they are getting a clearer picture of where the sisters traveled before their deaths.
It’s unclear what mode of transportation they used and the specific time frames they visited each city. Detectives are combing Midtown Manhattan for surveillance footage and witness accounts to piece together their whereabouts.
It wasn’t the first time the sisters vanished. In December, they were reported missing for one day, Fairfax County police said.
The sisters are both Saudi citizens, and their nation’s royal consulate general has been in contact with their family and has appointed a lawyer for the investigation.
Investigators suspect suicide, official says
So far, investigators have not found anything to indicate they were victims of foul play, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.
Water was found in the sisters’ lungs, the official said, which means they were likely alive when they entered the river. Police previously said their bodies showed no signs of trauma.
While investigators believe their deaths are suicides, the official said, they are investigating the circumstances surrounding them.
The New York Police Department is not ready to determine the official causes of death. Authorities are investigating whether the deaths were the result of suicide, homicide or an accident, said Phil Walzak, deputy commissioner for public information for the New York police.
Did the sisters apply for asylum?
Saudi officials are looking into whether the sisters applied for asylum in the United States, a Saudi official told CNN.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment and referred questions to the New York police