US Officials Say Staten Island Mother Killed in Turkey Met With “Criminal Element”

Mother of two Sarai Sierra, 33, was found dead in Turkey last weekend. The family said she traveled all the way to Turkey to take pictures – with her iPad and Droid phone. It was her first trip outside the United States.

Now officials say she met with shady characters while traveling in Turkey.
The New York Post reported:

FBI agents probing the murder of a Staten Island mom in Turkey said they don’t believe she was there just to take pictures — and said she hung out with a “criminal element” during the solo trip abroad.

“There are a lot of open questions that need to be answered,” a source familiar with the ongoing case told The Post.

Mother of two Sarai Sierra, 33, was found dead from a ferocious blow to the skull in a seedy area of Istanbul last Saturday after failing to show up for a Jan. 21 flight home to New York.

“The first people she met up with were a criminal element,” the source said of Sierra, who flew to Turkey Jan. 7, then to Amsterdam on Jan. 15 and Munich on Jan. 16 before heading back to Istanbul Jan. 19.

The FBI is in Turkey investigating the case, and is looking into a possible connection to drug trafficking — among other lines of inquiry, a source said.

“There are some witness reports that she was seen with sketchy characters,” said the source, adding that agents are following up those leads to determine if they’re accurate.

Sierra’s friends and family said the young mom — an amateur photographer who shot her pictures with an iPad and Droid phone — went abroad to take pictures.

During her trip, Sierra planned to connect with friends she’d met online. But the feds aren’t convinced they’re getting the full story of why she was overseas, a source said.

Read more here.

This story always did seem a little weird, like we weren’t getting the whole story.

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  • F Amman

    “The first people she met up with were a criminal element,” the source said.


    Yes, sometimes they go by other names such as Muslims, Mohammedans, Muhammadans, Mahommedans, Mahomedans, Mahometans, Arse-lifters, and so forth.

  • Mn Jim

    It is sad to hear of this young mother’s murder, but there is always more to the story. Were there no places to take photos in the US? Why would a young woman travel to Turkey alone? Why do Americans think they will be safe in foreign countries, particularly Muslim ones? Why would a photographer be using a camera phone? I think we are not getting the real story here. Sounds like the FBI has some of the same questions.

  • dwdude

    if you’re serious about taking pictures on a foreign venture, you don’t use your droid phone or ipad

  • KC

    While tragic, I smelled a rat from the very beginning.

    Come on man, who meets friends over the internent, then leaves two small children at home, travels to Turkey alone of all places to take photo’s?

  • Flew to Turkey on Jan7 then to Amsterdam on Jan 15 and Munich on Jan 16 before heading back to Istanbul on Jan 19………doesn’t make a lot sense why a young mother of two would travel by herself to meet-up with friends she meet online………and her husband had no clue what was going on REALLY.

  • Mahdi Al-Dajjal

    Her so-called “friends” she caught up with in Turkey probably brought her to a safe house, threatened her, and told her to start swallowing a couple dozen balloons filled with heroin. She refused and they killed her and dumped the body. Seems pretty straight forward to me. Either that or I’ve been watching too much television.

  • RKflorida

    There is more to this story than we are being told. As others have said, why did she choose to go to Turkey to take pictures? An Ipad and cell phone where her cameras? I’m not believing this cover story.

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  • RedStateGal

    Sad for the kids. I hope Dad is a good man.

  • Campfollower

    My scenario: the young, unmarried mother (did they say anything about a husband? no) met a muslim man on the internet and he romanced her online, luring her to Turkey. She was his connection to jihad in the U.S., she found something exciting, she thought in her naivete. She gets to Turkey. Her guy sends her to known terrorist jumping off points to learn the ropes. She comes back to Turkey and either won’t marry him to bring him back to the U.S. (no Visa, bye bye infidel) or gets cold feet about the “adventure.” Now they have to worry that she’ll come home and talk to authorities. So her children are left motherless.

    How sad. I was once a single mother and invited out by a muslim man who would not leave me alone. He praised me up and down, tried his best to romance me and my children also. My Moroccan friend, a Muslim convert to Christianity, told me NEVER trust a muslim man if you are a Christian woman, and I believed her. And I don’t care if that sounds bigoted at all.

  • Remember the 3 S’s. Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people and do stupid things.

  • Why the F would any American woman visit Turkey by themselves?

    Stupid is as stupid does…

    sorry, no sympathy for her, oh well, I’m jaded and cynical now.


  • Who in the world drops a couple of thousand dollars to go on a trip to take pictures, and only brings an iPad and a Droid phone? Used photo equipment isn’t all that horribly priced.