Turkish Police Release Surveillance Video of Missing American
(WASHINGTON) — Turkish authorities released surveillance video Tuesday taken two days before a New York woman missing in the country was due to return home, and interviewed her husband in hopes of aiding the investigation, according to local reports.
Surveillance footage, which was taken on Jan. 20, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, shows Sarai Sierra, 33, eating alone in a food court and walking around the mall, which is located near her hostel.
Sierra’s husband, Steven Sierra, and her brother, David Jimenez, arrived in Istanbul Monday. Steven Sierra met with U.S. officials Tuesday and was interviewed by Turkish authorities, according to local media.
The New York City mother, who has two young boys, traveled to Turkey alone on Jan. 7 after a friend had to cancel. Sierra, who is an avid photographer, planned to document her dream vacation with her camera.
“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 Sierra told ABC News before he departed for Istanbul.
Sierra took two side trips, to Amsterdam and Munich, before returning to Turkey, but kept in contact with her family the entire time, a family friend told ABC News.
She was supposed to fly back to the United States on Jan. 22, but she never showed up for her flight home. When it came time to pick her up from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Sierra wasn’t on board her scheduled flight.
Steven Sierra 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 said it is completely out of character for the happily married mother, who met her husband in church youth group, to disappear.
In a press briefing on Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said officials in Washington D.C. are “aware of reports” that Sierra was 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,” she said.
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