Police release security camera footage of missing American woman
The owner of the house in which Sierra was staying said he had not seen the 33-year-old since Jan. 20. She was last seen on security cameras. Screen capture from DHA video
The U.S. embassy and consulate general are working on the case of a U.S. woman who was reported missing in Istanbul, the U.S. State Department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland has said.
“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen, Sarai Sierra, is missing in Turkey. Our consulate general in Istanbul and our embassy in Ankara are working on the case, and they are obviously in contact with the family and with Turkish authorities,” Nuland told reporters today.
Istanbul police released earlier today security camera footage of when Sierra was last seen.
The owner of the house in which Sierra was staying said he had not seen the 33-year-old since Jan. 20, Doğan news agency reported.
“We haven’t heard from her since Jan. 20,” said Yiğit Yetmez, who rented out a room to Sierra earlier in the month, in his first public appearance after the news of the missing American woman emerged.
“There is nothing else in the room other than her passport, her chargers and her clothes. Thirteen days were booked and paid for online before she arrived,” he said, adding that he last saw Sierra “in the house” and that she was the only person staying in the room.
“She said she liked taking walks around Sultanahmet,” Yetmez said.
The man said he had provided all available information to the police and the U.S. consulate general. “They are searching and we are waiting.”
The house owner also said he was not a suspect in the case.
Meanwhile, Sierra’s husband, Steven, and brother arrived in Istanbul yesterday to follow the search. Her two children, aged 11 and 9, do not know their mother is missing, her brother David Jimenez told the Associated Press on Jan. 27.
“We hope to find her here,” Steven Sierra told reporters at Istanbul Atatürk Airport yesterday, adding that they would first go to the U.S. consulate.
Yesterday, two American citizens, who were reportedly friends with Sierra, testified at a police department.
Sierra’s family last made contact with her on Jan. 21, the day she was supposed to begin her journey back to the United States.
Three days after renting a room in Istanbul on Jan. 12, Sierra traveled to the Netherlands and Munich in Germany, Anatolia news agency quoted sources as saying. She returned to Turkey on Jan. 19.
A friend of the woman, Magalena Rodriguez, is also trying to gather information about Sierra’s whereabouts on social media.
Meanwhile, Turkish police are reviewing footage from around Istanbul’s Taksim neighborhood.
Several police teams have also been dispatched to surrounding neighborhoods to find possible clues and witnesses, Anatolia news agency said.