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LOCAL > FBI thinks US victim Sierra met with criminal elements: Report

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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DAILY NEWS photo / Emrah Gürel

DAILY NEWS photo / Emrah Gürel

FBI agents are not yet convinced that American Sarai Sierra’s solo trip to Turkey was an innocent journey to simply take photos of renowned tourist attractions, saying she met with a “criminal element” while abroad, the New York Post has reported.

“There are a lot of open questions that need to be answered,” a source familiar with the ongoing case reportedly told the Post. “The first people she met up with were a criminal element.”

The unnamed source also claimed that Sierra’s husband and relatives were merely being cooperative, highlighting the difference between “being cooperative and being helpful” in a murder investigation.

US victim Sarai Sierra’s photos for sale


The family of Sarai Sierra, a U.S. citizen and amateur photographer murdered while on a trip to Istanbul, put her photos up for sale and quickly sold enough photographs to pay the funeral expenses, the woman’s brother has said.

Her photographs were sold for between 3.95 and 79.95 dollars through Instagram. The photos are still for sale and the profits will now be going to her two young sons, the family said.

“My family and myself are incredibly thankful for the love and support that you have shown us. All of ya have been truly incredible. We also want to thank all of you who have donated funds to help us with the funeral arrangements,” David Jimenez, Sierra’s brother, wrote on a website set up to sell Sierra’s photographs and Sierra’s instagram account, “@memyself_sarai.”

“We’re super thankful and by God’s grace all expenses are covered. All remaining funds and any other donations that come in will not go towards her funeral. Those funds will go to her children. The PayPal donation link will be taken down shortly. Her photos will still be available on Instacanvas. Any pics that y’all buy from her Instacanvas will go to her children,” he added.

Meanwhile some new details about the ongoing investigation have emerged.

The man identified as “Taylan,” who arranged to meet Sierra by Galata Tower before she went missing on Jan. 21, gave DNA and sperm samples to the police, Turkish daily Vatan reported today.

Taylan told the police that Sierra and he had sexual intercourse when they met before she went missing. It was known that Sierra and Taylan met on Jan. 13.

Sierra’s jacket and a bag were also missing and police are searching for them along with Sierra’s smartphone and tablet computer, the daily reported.

Turkish police hope DNA samples from 21 people being questioned in the case will be key to finding the perpetrator.

“They’re still investigating, so they might think it might be a robbery, but they’re not sure,” said Betsy Jimenez, Sierra’s mother, at a press conference Feb. 4 in New York City, New York Daily News reported.

February/06/2013

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