LOCAL > Police hunt number-one Sierra suspect: Governor confirms

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Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu confirmed the reports regarding a runaway suspect that was being sought by the Turkish police.

“Our security forces are intensively conducting searches outside of Istanbul; when he is found, clear answers will emerge,” Mutlu said today in Istanbul.

Sarai Sierra was murdered with a brick blow to the head, while lead suspect Ziya T. was caught on city cameras selling Sierra’s jacket in a secondhand bazaar after the murder, Turkish police have revealed.

The police said a blood tainted brick was found around the city walls and the blood on it matched Sierra’s blood sample, daily Sabah reported today.

The U.S. citizen went missing in Istanbul in Jan. 21 and her dead body was found on Feb 2. Police have been searching for suspects since then.

The search has come to focus on a homeless man, identified as Ziya T. who is thought to have fled to the southern province of Hatay.

Ziya T. was seen walking from the railway through a secondhand bazaar in Eminönü, where he sold Sierra’s jacket, according to Sabah. He then headed to the district of Harem with the money before leaving Istanbul.

Thirty-three-year old Sarai Sierra was found bludgeoned to death near Istanbul’s ancient city walls on Feb. 2, 10 days after her family said they had lost contact with the lone tourist.

Forty-six-year old Ziya T. is said to be “unstable,” and makes a living selling trash paper.


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Notice on comments

lara ulusoy

2/28/2013 10:42:37 PM

No news about Ziya T? All these people looking for him could not find him yet? Or did I miss some updates?

MR Somalia

2/22/2013 2:12:09 PM

Istanbul is wonderful and magical place for living and for business. The killer will face justice and the family of the deceased will have a closure. Turkish nation needs to support the police and court system in their effort to bring the killer to justice. Family and friends need to be patient and help those close to her such as her parents heal and over come this tragedy.

Çılgın Kanarya

2/22/2013 12:41:00 PM

ATHİZ J, the police later publicly discredited the witness who claimed to have seen something resembling a body being carried from a white car. Ziya T's blood was found under the fingernails of the victim, & people saw him shortly afterwards with fresh scratches on his face. Then he's on camera selling her jacket! What more evidence do you want?! And I do trust the authorities on this, because by accusing a local guy, they are making Turkey look bad, which they would never do unnecessarily.

Çılgın Kanarya

2/22/2013 12:26:13 PM

Faruk Beisser, Istanbul is a very safe city in comparison with other metropolises of similar size around the world. This is what people are trying to emphasise. You are comparing the crime rate only with other cities in Turkey, which is something completely different! If Istanbul really is the most 'dangerous' city in this country, then this only goes to show how safe Turkey is as a whole, because I have never felt in danger in 3 years living here in Istanbul. All you need is commonsense.

Faruk Beisser

2/22/2013 8:57:27 AM

I just LOVE those comments claiming Istanbul to be a safe city! Strange, very strange indeed, that the gov't's yearly report on crimes committed in Turkey has Istanbul in the top 3 cities for crimes committed.

Engin Atik

2/22/2013 3:31:53 AM

I know it is just me but I am following this story to find some links between her murder and "Ded Hasan", the famous arms and drugs dealer recently killed in Russia. I believe Sarai was an upright and honest person and a good mom.

Athiz J

2/21/2013 7:09:32 PM

a witness saw a man in a white car dumping the body. this from a homeless man?

lara ulusoy

2/21/2013 6:36:30 PM

ÇILGIN KANARYA I guess you're right but I still can't help crossing out that peaceful feeling of 'safety' I had for Istanbul .Turkey to me is heaven on earth, not only for its unique beauty n its nature that 'talks' to your soul like angels tickling you and make you giggle all the time, well, this feeling has been scratched, precisely bcoz it's considered 1 of the safest cities in the world. It's just a feeling.

Çılgın Kanarya

2/21/2013 6:30:02 PM

STRATOS T, things would add up better if you kept up to date with events. The old theory that she was murdered elsewhere was dismissed when CCTV footage showed her walking to the walls from Sirkeci shortly before her disappearance. The bloody brick at the scene, matching Sarai's blood, is also more or less conclusive proof, as you alluded to. And as for "poor Ziya" possibly only stripping the jacket from her body to sell, how would he explain his blood being found under her fingernails?!

Geir Fugleberg

2/21/2013 5:07:52 PM

Istanbul is not a danger zone. Wherever down and outs congregate it is unadvisable to go with expensive gadgets and clothes. There hapens to be poor people in Istanbul,for them any foreigner is a very Rich person indeed. I woul not have ventured into Harlem or the Bronx 20 years ago and I would certainly not venture into certain parts of Istanbul today. If anything Turkish cities ar safer bcs , unlike EU/US there is a huge police precence(for better AND worse).!!!
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