These two undated photos provided by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) show sisters Rotana, left, and Tala Farea, whose fully clothed bodies, bound together with tape and facing each other, were discovered on on the banks of New York City's Hudson River waterfront on October 24, 2018.
New York City police said Wednesday that 16-year-old Tala Farea and 22-year-old Rotana Farea were last seen September 24 in Virginia, where they lived, and appear to have traveled together to New York.
That day, Shea said, a man in the park saw the sisters, who had been in the US for two to three years, sitting about 30 feet apart "sitting with their heads in their hands ... and they were making noises loudly that he described as praying".
Their bodies showed no signs of physical trauma.
The baffling case took on an added air of mystery when it was revealed that the sisters' mother told police that she had received a phone call from the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington DC the day before the sisters were found.
New York Police Department investigators believe the deaths to be suicides, the official said, though detectives are still investigating the circumstances surrounding them.
When the bodies of two young women were found in the Hudson River, taped together at the feet and waist, the authorities knew nothing about them except that they had suffered a gruesome death.
Shea said the duct tape found around girls was not tight and binding, but only "keeping them together", indicating they may have placed the duct tape themselves before they entered the water.
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The Saudi Arabian Embassy has denied talking to the family about any asylum request.
The city's medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death, be it a double homicide or a suicide pact. At the time, Shea said, "It was raised that they were the subject of abuse".
The sisters also were reported missing more than eight months prior, for one day in December 2017, according to Fairfax County Police.
Rotana was enrolled at George Mason University, but left in the spring.
They were also seen several times on security cameras in apparently good health, police said during a news conference on Friday afternoon. The next month they were located by police officers and taken to a shelter-like facility in the Washington area due to some abuse allegations that came up.
"There are still gaps to fill in", Shea said of the investigation.
New information has emerged about the two sisters who were found taped together on the shore of the Hudson River.
The jogger who said he saw the sisters praying went to the police on Wednesday.