(NEW YORK) — The husband and brother of a New York City woman who vanished in Turkey on her first solo trip overseas are heading to the country to assist in the search.
Sarai Sierra, 33, was supposed to arrive back in the United States on Jan. 22, but she never showed up for her flight home, her family said.
Her husband, Steven Sierra, and her brother, David Jimenez, are scheduled to arrive in the country Monday afternoon and plan to meet with local officials and media to help bolster the search.
Sarai, who is an avid photographer, went ahead with the Jan. 7 trip after a friend had to cancel. Throughout her journey, Sarai kept in contact with her family.
“It was her first time outside of the United States, and every day while she was there she pretty much kept in contact with us, letting us know what she was up to, where she was going, whether it be through texting or whether it be through video chat, she was touching base with us,” Steven said.
But when it came time to pick her up from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Sarai wasn’t on board her scheduled flight.
Steven called United Airlines and was told his wife had never boarded the flight home.
Further investigation revealed she had left her passport, clothes, phone chargers and medical cards in her room at a hostel in Beyoglu, Turkey, he said.
The family is suspicious and said it is completely out of character for the happily married mother of 11-year-old and 9-year-old sons, who met her husband in a church youth group, to disappear.
The U.S. Embassy in Turkey and the Turkish National Police are involved in the investigation, ABC News affiliate WABC-TV reported.
“They’ve been keeping us posted, from my understanding they’ve been looking into hospitals and sending out word to police stations over there,” Steven said. “Maybe she’s, you know, locked up, so they are doing what they can.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
James Griffiths, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Marisa Russell, CNN