The body of a US woman who disappeared last month during a solo trip to Turkey has been found in Istanbul, Turkish authorities said Friday. According to local media reports, Turkish authorities are investigating nine people over the death of the New York City woman, Sarai Sierra.
Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two young boys, was an amateur photographer who had amassed around 3,000 followers since she joined the photo sharing app Instagram in 2012. She last contacted home on Jan. 21, the day she was scheduled to take a flight home from the Turkish capital, Istanbul. Her friends and family members grew alarmed after she did not arrive home.
Turkish police said that they found Sierra’s body in the vicinity of the ancient stone walls in Istanbul's Sarayburnu district. Authorities said her body showed signs of stab wounds.
"The last we heard from my wife was Monday morning on the 21st. She had spoken with her sister and the last thing she said was, 'I'm coming home tomorrow,' and she was excited and put a little smiley face at the end of her statement," said husband Steven Sierra in an interview with CNN earlier this week.
Sierra traveled to Turkey alone on Jan. 7 to document her dream holiday with her camera. According to her family, she regularly contacted home while she was in Turkey.
Sierra’s husband, Steven, is currently in Turkey meeting with US embassy authorities and local officials, as they searched for his wife.
Reports suggest that on Friday, local officials held a man who had held an online chat with Sierra before she went missing. The man’s identity and details pertaining to his arrest have yet to be disclosed.
Steven Sierra told authorities that days before her scheduled flight home, Sierra spoken on Skype with her father, Dennis Jimenez, to tell him her arrival time and flight number.
"I urge Turkish officials to move quickly to identify whomever is responsible for her tragic death and ensure that any guilty parties are punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY, who with his staff had been assisting the Sierra family in the search, according to ABC News.