ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Sarai Sierra was laid to rest in Staten Island, New York, on Feb 15. AP Photo
The prime suspect in the murder of Sarai Sierra, a U.S. woman whose body was found near Istanbul’s ancient city walls in Sarayburnu on Feb. 2, is trying to escape into Syria, daily Hürriyet reported.
According to the report, forensics experts have determined that a hair sample collected from a pillow at the address of the top suspect, Ziya T., in the northwestern province of Karabük, matches the blood samples found on the T-shirt of Sierra, as well as under her nails.
Once the story had broken, Ziya T. headed to Hatay, where he reportedly asked several people to help him enter into Syrian territory.
Mahmut G., a resident of the district where Sierra’s body was found, also told the police that he had seen Ziya T. in the neighborhood.
He said that Ziya T. had “scars that might have been caused by nails.” “I asked him what it was, and he told me that he fell in the bushes,” Mahmut G. told the police, the report said.
Another witness identified as Hasan B. said he saw Sierra taking photos of the city walls. Ten minutes after, he heard screaming.
Ziya T., also known as “Laz Ziya,” who makes a living by collecting used paper, reportedly left Istanbul after Sierra’s body was found by the police. Police officers said Ziya T. might be in the southern province of Hatay.
Istanbul police officers had said earlier in the day that a group of two or three people may be implicated in Sierra’s murder by having helped carry her body to the ancient city walls.
The 33-year-old mother of two disappeared in Jan. 21. She was laid to rest in Staten Island, New York, on Feb. 15.