Missing Staten Island woman found dead in Turkey

ISTANBUL -- A Staten Island woman who went missing while vacationing alone in Istanbul was found dead Saturday, and police detained nine people for questioning, Turkey's state-run news agency said.

Sarai Sierra, 33, was last heard from on Jan. 21, the day the mother of two was to fly home. Her disappearance drew a lot of interest in Turkey, where the disappearance of tourists is rare, and Istanbul police had set up a special unit to find her.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said the body of a woman was found yesterday evening near the remnants of ancient city walls and that police identified it as Sierra.

The agency did not say what caused her death. But the private NTV television reported that she was stabbed to death, while a private news agency, Dogan, said she had a head wound, suggesting she may have been hit with an object.

Sierra had left for Istanbul on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby. She went on the trip alone after a friend canceled.

She was last in touch with her family Jan. 21, the day she was due home. She told them she would visit Galata Bridge, which spans Istanbul's Golden Horn waterway, to take photos. The body was found near the bridge and a major road that runs alongside the sea of Marmara. It was not clear whether a Turkish man Sierra had exchanged emails with during her stay in Istanbul was among the nine detainees.

Sierra's husband, Steven, and her brother, David Jimenez, had traveled to Istanbul to help search for her. -- AP

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