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Turkish police seek clues in NYC woman's death

Monday - 2/4/2013, 7:27am  ET

By SUZAN FRASER
Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkish authorities finished an autopsy Monday on a New York City woman found dead in Istanbul and submitted DNA samples from it to a crime lab for testing, Turkey's state-run media reported.

Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two, went missing Jan. 21 while on a solo vacation in Istanbul. Her body was found 12 days later, near the remnants of some ancient city walls. Police said she had suffered a fatal blow to the head.

Police on Monday were still scouring the area where the body was found for clues, with the help of sniffer dogs, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The Milliyet newspaper said a forensic medicine lab will examine samples from Sierra's fingernails as well as hair and other samples from a blanket found near her body. It said some nail scrapings suggest she may have tried to fight off her attacker.

More than a dozen people were questioned in the case but most of them have been released, Milliyet reported. It said three people were still being held for questioning.

Sierra, whose children are 9 and 11, had left for Istanbul on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby. She was to have traveled with a friend, but the friend cancelled.

Sierra was in regular contact with friends and relatives during the trip and had told them she would visit Galata Bridge, which spans Istanbul's Golden Horn waterway, to take photos.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)