Missing Abroad: Sarai Sierra

Missing abroad: Help find Sarai Sierra

Imagine going off to a foreign country for vacation, only to never return or be heard from. This is not a clip from a movie, which depicts the growing epidemic of women missing abroad, but an actual occurrence near to home.
A very dear friend of mine, Magalena Rodriguez, is seeking as much help as can be given to find her friend who is missing abroad in Turkey.

Sarai Sierra was traveling alone to Istanbul when she disappeared. She has not been heard from by her family, friends since the 21st and missed her return flight the following day.

She reached out for help and I am doing my part to make sure that she is found safe and returned home to her family in Staten Island.

She is petite, approximately 110 lbs, fair skin with long, light-brown hair. Sarai is a mother and a wife. Her family has since traveled to Turkey to obtain any leads. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and United States Embassy have been contacted by concerned members of the missing travelers family.

Social media is the best outlet to spread the information. So please share and help Sarai return to her worried friends and family.


UPDATE: Sarai Sierra was found dead in Turkey this morning. My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to her family and loved ones at this difficult time. Continue to pray for strength for the family!

One of my best friends, Sarai Sierra has been missing since Monday January 21, 2013. She is an American Citizen traveling alone to #Istanbul. She arrived January 7 and has been staying in Beyoglu, Turkey. Monday the 21 she was going to see the Galata Bridge and the Asian side of Turkey. She is 5'2". No more than 110 lbs. with fair skin and long light brown wavy hair. She has hazel eyes and would have had her Samsung Galaxy, iPad, NY State Drivers License and an extra pair of shoes with her.  Her passport and medical cards were still in her room. She was supposed to arrive back in the States on Tuesday, January 22 but never showed for her flight. She doesn't drink or do drugs. She's a wife and mom of 2 boys. Should you have any information please message myself, her husband, Steve Diaz-Sierra, or her sister, Christina Jimenez.  Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. *DO NOT HESITATE TO  FLOOD SOCIAL MEDIA WITH THIS INFORMATION. LET'S BRING HER HOME!!!!
“One of my best friends, Sarai Sierra has been missing since Monday January 21, 2013. She is an American Citizen traveling alone to #Istanbul. She arrived January 7 and has been staying in Beyoglu, Turkey. Monday the 21 she was going to see the Galata Bridge and the Asian side of Turkey. She is 5’2″. No more than 110 lbs. with fair skin and long light brown wavy hair. She has hazel eyes and would have had her Samsung Galaxy, iPad, NY State Drivers License and an extra pair of shoes with her. Her passport and medical cards were still in her room. She was supposed to arrive back in the States on Tuesday, January 22 but never showed for her flight. She doesn’t drink or do drugs. She’s a wife and mom of 2 boys. Should you have any information please message myself, her husband, Steve Diaz-Sierra, or her sister, Christina Jimenez.
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

87 thoughts on “Missing Abroad: Sarai Sierra

  1. Please anyone with any information contact the family. She is a wonderful person and mother, her dad and I are best friends from way back and I have not been able to stop thinking about Sarai since I heard. I can give a reward of $1000.00 for information leading to her safe return, if I had a 1,000.000.00 I would give it. So please help us find Sarai. I can be contacted via facebook Eddie Preacher Rivera. Thanks and God Bless…

  2. Many years ago I got drugged in a night club in Istanbul. It was 2a men from Yemen, I was a 20little year old model. Perfect for a Harem. Because of my fast reaction I got away. I have lived many years in Turkey and my Mom still does. In fact I just got back from Turkey 2and weeks ago. Turkey is still very safe. I believe she met some people while in Istanbul and they know what happed.

    1. This is the photo provided on Magalena’s Facebook page of Sarai. More have been added as the story is picked up by major news websites. The purpose of this article was to get the attention of bloggers and news organizations.

    2. If you’re on Instagram there is a hashtag #sarai_appearance which has more photos of her. They were all provided by fellow Instagramers who know Sarai and have been on photo walks with her. I am on of those people. Please feel free to copy, paste, repost any of those pictures along with her vital info and who to contact via email (all that info is provided w/ almost every picture). Thank you.
      I am sgnyco on Instagram & Twitter

  3. The Missing Americans Project (www.missingamericans.ning.com) will be happy to help Sarai’s family in any way we can. Please feel free to use our online community as an outlet for information and appeals for help.

  4. oh my, i am terribly sorry for her and her family. i pray for her safe return to her husband and her babies. my heart aches for her friends and family.god please bring her home safe.

  5. Start with in the hotel. Think about it. You won’t leave your belongings in your hotel room unless your in your hotel room. You set your things down, no one will leave their passport unless you were going to take a bath, or go to a pool, or what? Maybe go down to the hotel clerk to ask a question? But even that, you would take your cell phone to. She could still be in that hotel. Try to rent the same room, after you have your key. Quietly knock on room doors, without the clerk knowing. Show whoever opened the door a picture of her, listen closely and try to peak in if you can. Fownload a translator and in their language ask if you can check their room. Also talk louder so if she’s somewhere around she can hear. Do something to get attention

    1. The purpose of the blog and social media posts were to attract attention to the media to help get the word out. As of today, the story is circulating and praying Sarai is found safe.

  6. Why don’t you call apple and track the iPad. Even if you don’t have the password, I am sure apple could get you into the cloud account considering the circumstances.

  7. I am a canadian who has lived and worked in the neighborhood where she was renting an apartment. I know the neighborhood very well, as I have worked in real estate there for some time.I can tell you that it is definitely a neighborhood where one must be careful, though during the day time it seems safe. I would offer my help, but I am not sure how much use I could be. I could only offer to comment on possible routes that may have been taken and where trouble spots might be. my email is keithboyle@hotmail.com
    Our prayers and thoughts are with Sarai.

  8. Suggestion: Please post more photos of Sarai – preferably without hats. If she is not wearing her hats and if at present her face happens to be not as clean as this pic shows – it might be difficult for passer-bys to recognize her – should she be fatigued or (God forbid) even injured.
    God help her safe return home soon.

  9. If you know her password for her Apple login, use the Track your IPhone-IPad App… If not, plead with Apple, you will still need her login ID. You should be able to find the login ID on the computer she hooks up her Ipad to. Use that to attempt to track her Ipad. If the Samsung Galaxy has a similar App, try that as well. I wish you the best of luck of finding your loved one.

  10. A woman named Nicole Vienneau disappeared a few years back under very similar circumstances while on a solo vacation in Syria. Her plan was to visit Turkey before she vanished. There might be a connection between the two disappearances.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  11. I have been praying for her return since i heard of this story. It just makes me sick to hear of these things happening. I will continue to pray for her and her family.

  12. I would say to look at the videos in Amsterdam. Maybe those videos will brings some further insight to the case. I live in Istanbul, close enough to the sketchy neighbourhood where Sarai was staying.

  13. I spend 100 days in Istanbul and stayed in that area as well. I am wondering what is known about why she went to Germany and The Netherlands after arriving in Istanbul, and if her family was aware of that. for a first time international traveler, that seems like a strange itinary, suggesting she met some people? I would start with that detail and go from there. There is not alot being said about that, but that does not seem to make sense. Istanbul is a very large city, but very safe, with allot of Police prescence. I pray for her safe recovery and return to her family.

  14. I also want to add that her dress, stature and coloring are very Turkish, she would not stand out in Istanabul as a foreigner in that area, just walking in Beyoglu/Taxim area. Istanbul is very much like NYC. New Yorkers tend to feel very comfortable in Istanbul, and vica-verca.

  15. I don’t know her but I am praying for her safety. I to have a daughter and don’t know what i will do if she is missing. Father in heaven have mercy and bring her home safely to her family.


  16. is her given name Sarai? that is a very Turkish/Ottomon term. Does she have family background from that area? Or an strong interest in the culture?

  17. I was in Istanbul for the month of Oct. and when I returned to the U.S. I stopped in Munich and then on to D.C. It makes NO sense that she would fly to Istanbul and then take a “side trip” to Amsterdam and then fly all the way back to Istanbul for 2 days and then get back on a plane and fly all the way back across Europe and on to N.Y.C….that is if her true intent was to just take photos. It does not add up. It would be a very expensive way to see Amsterdam and Munich on her salary and with two children. The “normal” way would be to pay $50 for a layover ON ROUTE. I have forwarded her info to my friends in Sultanahmet to keep a look out. Late last night I googled 20 pages on her and strangely only Fox News (NOT my favorite) bothered to mention her “side trip”. I think it is very possible she took a few “things” to Amsterdam and made some $. The “tour guide” would know she had money and perhaps sent somebody to collect. It does not look good. I suggest you start telling everything you really know if you want to find her. Don’t leave out the part about her “side trip”. I doubt my friends will have seen her since they run a lot of the hotels and shops the tourist go to in Istanbul and she was in Amsterdam and Munich NOT Istanbul! I hope you do find her, I would be VERY interested to hear the REAL story!

    1. Winnie I agree. I work for United and just came back from Turkey on the 13th of Jan. I’m from Munich but my Mom lives in Turkey and I live in the states. She was hiding something, a side kick friend or a deal to make $.

      1. On another note. How does tbe police know she only spend one day in Amsterdam? Leaving Turkey her passport got a departure stamp and a arrival stamp in Holland.There are no more border checks between Holland and Germany so no stamp. Another departure stamp from Munich and a new entry stamp back into Turkey. How did she pay for the ticket? CC or cash? Did she cbeck in for the Amsterdam flight alone or with another person? Same for the return flight o Istanbul. The entry as wellthe as thethe depaeture stamp into Turkey has a number. This is the ID number of the immigration officer. There are not many young American female traveling into Istanbul in Jan. I’m sure the immigration officer will rember her and will remeber if she traveled alone. Also the airlines will know by the seat asignments.

    2. This blog was created the day after officials were alerted of her disappearance. The intention was to get the attention of the media and those that might have information into her disappearance. The only known fact at that time was that Sarai was missing in Turkey, never having boarded her flight. There are more updated blogs and news stories available that provide more up-to-date information, but the fact is that Sarai is missing abroad. All other speculations are just hear-say until the proper officials can conclude otherwise.

  18. I am Turkish, a graduate of a US University, lived in US for years and am now in my home country. Officials are doing their best to find her. But why was she advised to stay at that neighborhood in the first place? I would not go near it at night with or without anybody. We read in the news that officials found the following: She left Turkey on the 15th and returned on the 19th. She spent over 10,000 Dollars in her stay in Turkey (a lot of money) and in her side trips. Police released the security camera footage of her for the night of 20th. She did not use her American telephone line here and it is believed that she got a local telephone card and line here. Now officials found out that Sarai corresponded with 4 Turkish people on the internet and are trying to find them. You can follow some of the Turkish papers published in English in the internet which provide more news like http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com.
    I pray that she is found safe and returns to her family and children.

  19. I think it is conceivable she booked her stay in the hostel via the internet, not realizing the neighborhood, if she was indeed on a budget. Beyoglu is not a bad place and is a highly pedestrian area full of shops, restaurants, etc. It would come across as “just fine” if you were looking in guidebooks. Yet there are dark and creepy pockets for sure.

    That has happened to me before when staying in similar countries. Everything looks great on the internet, everyone sounds nice via email, especially if they are conversing in English to an American. I have not heard about this $10K spent though, that sounds very suspicious, and like other seasoned travelers, taking side-trips to northern Europe after getting a roundtrip to Istanbul seems odd. Most people would connect out of Amsterdam if that was there intent and do it on a layover, but Turkish Air is running really cheap roundtrips out of NYC so it is not inconceivable itinerary, just highly suspect. Not ot mention if her interest was photography, and she was brave enough to go to Istanbul, far more interesting photo-destinations exist.

  20. It doesn’t even look like a hostel. It looks like somebody’s house – unless she stayed at a hostel for part of the trip and the house for the other part. The building owner seems a little ..sketchy if you will. He said the last time he saw her was in the house. It wasn’t clear if he lives there or what. Did she have any roommates? Maybe she thought she would be sharing it with students.

  21. Shared this on my blog at this link: bit.ly/WCtuQi
    I hope she is found soon, and I’ll spread the word via Facebook and Twitter to help the search! Thoughts and prayers to all of you!

    (Also, I used the photo on this blog post as the featured image on my personal post. If that’s a problem, I can take that part of the post down!)

  22. Now the Foundation for Relatives of Missing Persons (YAKAD) is also searching. They distributed Sarai’s photo, and hanged on the “hope bus” touring Istanbul. This is a voluntary association. You can see the picture here: http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/128384–video-kayitlari-incelendi
    We read that 28 policemen are scanning video footage taken from 500 security cameras 24 hours a day. Police is excellent and they are doing great work. I am sure we will get news very soon. You can read latest Turkish news here: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-305725-turkish-police-identify-missing-ny-womans-last-contact.html
    and here:: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/missing-american-woman-seen-in-istanbul-witnesses-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=40232&NewsCatID=341

    May God be with her, and return her safely to her children.

    1. I just saw Turkish news they found out who the man Taylan is. Im hoping hes not some hardheaded guy whos in love with her and who has her in his house and is like,no, I don’t want you to go..general guys act like that regardless of their nationality. She could have wanted to stay a week with him and left her charger so she can give the excuse that her phone was dead.maybe she did see the
      news and is to scared to come back cause of
      the news. Maybe this Taylan guy is a nice gyy after all. Maybe hes taking her around site seeing and she doesn’t have to pay..too many maybes. I’m just glad they found out who he is.

  23. A woman has no business in a Muslim country if they are not from Islam. I seen the both videos. She walks around like she knows the place, she walks around like she’s in Brooklyn. She was even wearing a short jean skirt!!! She doesn’t know that in a Muslim country, girls who walk around like that arw considered whores and an easy target. These men, they look ar her like, here is fresh meat, no vale, shes not muslim, they know, they live different lives. She was probably the only one in that country walking around like that. To top it off she went to meet up with a dude. I am not saying shes playing her husband. I am saying that you cant trust just anybody, especially when your in a different country. Could it be possible that while she was in the states that, the “guy” sent her the $10,000? and that’s why she went to meet up with him because he was supposedly going to give her more money? And it was a set up? Im praying to God that she’s safe, that maybe she took a boat and ended up being stranded…but then again she took her cell so wouldn’t she call? anyways there’s too many questions, but as a Puerto Rican myself, and a mother, living in the states knowing damn well, im struggling to make ends meet…I wouldn’t spend it in any country.

  24. There is no doubt that this woman loves her husband. There is no doubt that she’s determined to do whatever she has to do, to take the most breathtaking photos, even if traveling to another country to get them. The main focus here is on the guy. If only they can get in contact with the guy or his family. What is the guys screen/handle/email. Maybe we can all find something on this guy.

      1. I am so sorry. When I heard the news I had tears. Police believes that she was killed and carried to the ancient city walls. She had her ring, earrings etc. on so it is apparently not theft. An eyewitness a woman driver saw an older man take a body off a car but she could not take the license plates. Police arrested 11 people. I pray tonight not only for Sarai but for all the women in this world who lost their lives senselessly, violently and before their time. I am so sorry. RIP Sarai…

      2. Still manyin questions. How long she hasmore been dead? And how come the police arrested so many people right after they found her? Still something not right about this story. Her Amsterdam trip, she took pictures of grafitti…. .strange. Tourist who go to Amsterdam take pictures of the canals and the town. Also no info on what she did in Munich and where she stayed there. Sad that she is dead. But I still believe she got herself involved in somethj g and with people that she should have not. Hope we will find out the true story behind it.

      3. She’s Latin, the pictures of graffiti is a statement in New York since the 1980s lots of people give recognition for it. It was considered Art believe it or not, people still consider it beautiful that’s why people take pictures because it brings back memories.

    1. Medan, her body was found 2 kilometers from the Galata Bridge, near old city walls and the Marmara Sea, not near Sultanahmet which is considered a relatively safe area. Usually Istanbul is safe to walk about, but not so much at night, especially if you are a woman alone.

  25. TheTruth, nowhere in the videos she is wearing a mini skirt. She has jeans and a leather jacket and a hat on. Where did you see that? Men looking at here would never think she is a foreigner. In fact Sarai looks like just any other Turkish girl, in full clothing and nobody would pay extra attention to her. God knows with my blonde hair and blue eyes I look more foreign and I am Turkish. 🙂 And many young Turkish girls wear mini skirts in Istanbul, they are Muslims. We are a secular country and we do not cover ourselves if we choose not to. In Amsterdam she stayed at the house of a courchsurfer and he showed her around the city. That is all we know.

    Police says there are no signs of rape after the examination at the hospital. Her jewelry was on, so it is not theft either. Taylan is apparently a guy she met in Instagram and met her twice to show her the city and he was released. An eyewitness, a woman testified and said she saw a man in a white car taking off a body on Tuesday evening around the area where Sarai is found. Police believes she was killed somewhere else and carried to the historical city walls with a blanket. 15 people are now in custody and being interrogated. 2 of them are women.
    You can read all about it here:
    It is really very sad. Investigation continues, but we may never learn what happened to her.

  26. Condolences to her family. I’m very sory for her and for her family, especialy for her boys.
    I’m a Turkish lawyer living in Istanbul. Sory for my English in advance.
    When I look at her story as a lawyer, I can say that something big is missing here.

    An American woman, mom of 2 boys, goes to Istanbul on her own to take photos without a camera? Yes, her husband says she went to Istanbul to take photos and a lot of newspaers mentioning her as “photographer”. I saw some of her pictures on Instagram and they were looking like taken with Ipad or cellphone camera and there is no mention about her camera in any news. Police report say that her Ipad and cellphone is missing but there is no information about any camera.

    According to newspapers, this was her first vacation to abroad. Do you think it’s normal to travel thosounds of miles on your own for taking pictures with your ipad on your first vacation to abroad?

    Her visits to Amsterdam and Germany is also confusing. The more interesting point is she came back to Istanbul for 3 days. Would you follow the same route if your only aim was to take photos in Istanbul, Amsterdam and Germany? (with your ipad) I mean you took photos 8 days in Istanbul, then go to Amsterdam for graffiti photos and come back to Istanbul again for 3 days to take more photos? (with your ipad)

    Police says her husband sent her money 2 times, 350 US Dollars and 150 US dollars. totaly 500. What kind of tourist needs 150 US dollars, when she is travelling to NYC-Istanbul-Amsterdam-Germany-Amsterdam-Istanbul-NYC for very short terms?

    She stayed in a place, where i wouldnt choose to pass especialy in night, if i dont have to, as a Turkish male. Why? Because, to take photos of Istanbul with my ipad is so important?

    Police report says there is no evidence of rape/abuse and there is no evidence of theft. Her earrings and neckless found with her body. So what was the reason to kill?

    I have to say that, Turkish police says there is no evidence about she was a drug courier.

    1. You should have ended your comment after the first sentence. If you really are a lawyer, I certainly wouldn’t hire you, as you are too quick to judge based on limited information and lack the discretion that is the better part of professionalism.

    2. Sedad I’m with you on thisone one. You are absultly right. I’m from Munich but live in the USA and I happen to be a flight atrendant for the airline she was suppose to fly home on. My Mom lives in Bodrum. I flew to Frankfurt for 3 days beginning of January then to Izmir to take a bus to Bodrum. I stayed there for a week. On the way home I flew to Munich for 21the days and from there back to the US. I had an American friend with me who wanted to see Europe. This is a rout to take if you want to see multiple cities. Not like she did. For those who are not to familiar with geographic. It is like flying to Hawaii from New York for a few days then to fly to Denver from there to Cananda and back to Hawaii and then back to New York. Also it ia cold and gray in Istanbul as well as Amsterdam and Munich in January. So even with an expensive camera it is not the right time for a picture taking trip. Cameras are not expensive in the States very suprising she spend all that money on plane tickets but not on a camera. Eit

      1. Either she was very naive or she was into something. A money carrier? Someone else delivered the drugs and she was suppose to bring the cash back? Soonest she got to Istanbul she changed her flight home to an earlier date. Why? And why is there no info what she did in Munich for 321the days? Did she post any pictures from her Munich trip?

  27. Sedat Bey; there is no mention of any camera because there is no camera. Sierra took pictures with her ipad which she loaded on Instagram. It is a usual practice and you can take great pictures with an Ipad with todays technology.. She indeed went to Amsterdam to take pictures of graffiti and stayed with another person she met in Instagram. She couchsurfed. This is not unusual as well.

    What do you mean by what kind of tourist needs 150 Dollars? It is only about 250 TL in Turkish money and it is nothing in an expensive city like Istanbul.
    About the place she stayed I agree but maybe she was mislead? Her only mistake was to travel alone as a woman to pursue her love for photography and she was advised Istanbul was beautiful. What is wrong with that? Can’t women travel alone? Do we kill women in this country because they travel alone? But of course it does not matter. Women die everywhere because they are just women.
    I am deeply sorry for her. We do not know the reason of her death. But I trust our police who is doing excellent work here. They will find very soon.
    In the mean time we should stop asking questions, stop judging and wait.
    But this will not bring Sierra or Pippa Bacca (Italian peace volunteer who was killed) or other Turkish women killed senselessly and before their time until we, as Turkish people accept that women can go anywhere they want just like men knowing they are PEOPLE and they are protected.

  28. Jeff, thanks for not hiring me.
    I’m realy sick of hearing this arguments depending on difficulties being a woman, machoism etc. About 4 years ago My wife has been spent 1 mounth in USA with her friends and i wasn’t with her, there is nothing wrong with this. If you say USA is a safe place, 3 years ago she travelled to Syria again with her friends when i stayed in Istanbul. This is not about my machoism, this is about the facts.

    You are on a vacation 5.000 miles away from your country and you need money. You call your husband/wife and ask for money. He/she sends you 150 dollars?? This shows us those people were poor. If you are that much poor you dont go 5.000 miles away to take photos, if you do so, people can say this does not make sense.

    Lets say he/she needed a break and this was the vacation of her life and planned a low budget holiday. How can you explain that, one day he/she is asking for 150 dollars from her/his husband/wife and the other day he/she is going to Amsterdam, Munich and coming back to Istanbul for only 3 days? what is the reason doing that? “Oh, i need to go back to Istanbul so i can take more photos with my Ipad. I couldnt take enough photos when i was there for 8 days.” There is not a plane from Amsterdam to NY?

    If you are on a touristic travel with low budget, you dont fly like NY-IST-AMS-IST-NY. you fly NY-IST-AMS-NY. If you open a world map you can see what i am talking about. Even you have tons of money, you dont fly back to a place which you already spent 8 days, unless if you dont have a very important job or very important personal issue in Istanbul. If you ask to her husband the answer is “to take photos!” does it make sense?

    By the way, I know what instagram is. I also take photos and share them on Instagram. (I have Ipad, Iphone and Samsung Galaxy Note) I also travel abroad, staying hostels, cheap hotels etc. I know what couchsurfing is and i dont blame people who travels with low budgets.

    1. You know what it is? Its that over here in America we have many laws, in different countries the laws are not the same. Lots of people are scared of kidappings, wages of war, and crimes that no one wants to talk about. We just have to remind ourselves that crime happens anywhere, in any country. I would personally love to travel to to different countries and meet different people. I think the fear of not understanding the language and feeling of being alone like your in another planet that scares us.

    1. Now the newspaper here is reporting that her family does not have enough money to fly her home. Her return ticket was paid for. And in circumstances like this the airlines are very good in helping. But what it tells me that did not have the money for a vacation. She went to Europe to make money. It is sad that she is dead and I feel for her family and specially for her children. But I’m convinced that she did something she should have not done.

  29. Sedat Bey, I think you took me as an American and missed “bey” in front of my message. 🙂 I am not saying US is a safer place. Nobody called you a macho either. If you take it that personally, maybe you are one. I do not have to take a world map, since I’ve been to those places many times. You say that if you are poor yoo don’t travel 5000 miles, and you also say you don’t blame people who travel with low budget.
    I see everybody became a detective all of a sudden. What you people are insinuating is with the way Sierra acted, she asked for her faith and deserved to die?! I can not accept that. She is dead now and who are we to judge her? There is nothing in this world that justifies the death of a human being.
    And I would like to remind you one thing: in our culture in Turkish culture we do not speak after the deceased. Thank you very much.

  30. Yakut,

    Maybe i’am looking like a little bit stupid from your angle but belive me i’m not:). I know you are Turkish, read your posts. I’m not taking anything personal but a lot of people here including you taking the case as a matter of being a women.

    Those questions belongs to you “Can’t women travel alone? Do we kill women in this country because they travel alone? But of course it does not matter. Women die everywhere because they are just women.” At least can we agree that those are rethorical questions? So, what you actualy say is “hey buddy, women can travel alone!!”. why would you say this to a someone if you are not judging him as he has a certain idea like “women cannot travel alone”?

    another wrong judgement about me;

    “You say that if you are poor yoo don’t travel 5000 miles”.

    i did not say that. what i said is this;

    ” If you are that much poor you dont go 5.000 miles away to take photos, if you do so, people can say this does not make sense.”

    I dont belive you cannot see the diference between saying “I travelled 5.000 miles away for a low budget dream holiday” and saying “I travelled 5.000 miles away for some instagram shots”. And yes this nuance is very important, because if you say you are on a low budget holiday, you plan every detail and for example you dont go to Amsterdam and Munich and come back to Istanbul for 3 days when there is a cheaper way to spend more times on every single city, like staying 11 days in Istanbul instead of 8+3 days, then going to amsterdam. With transport and “check in” time you would save one more day and you would keep some money in your pocket. (probably more then 150 dollars).

    If you are saying “I travelled 5.000 miles away for some instagram shots” i say this doesnt make sense, because you are poor, because you are mom of 2, because you dont have a camera with you, because you are not a photographer, because your photograps are not even an amaeteur photographer photos, they more like tourist photos (they dont have composition, colour harmony etc.), because you already spent 8 days in Istanbul , why come back?

    I dont say anybody deserved to die that way, i dont belive that. As i mentioned before, i’m a lawyer and i have clients from this “business”, why should i wish them die? Two days later i have a trial on court (Özel Yetkili Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi) which is about smuggling from and to Amsterdam-Istanbul. Maybe this is the point we cannot agree, many people imagine drug smuggling as a profession which is performed by Holivood villain characters, not a pretty, nice and ordinary housewife and a good person like Sarai. But I know some of those people in this “business”, i spoke with them, i have visited them in jail, i know their stories, I’ve met with their families. I’m full of stories of nice, good, ordinary (generally poor) people who decides to make something wrong for good reasons.

    Searching for the truth is not speaking after the deceased. If you insist me to give an example about speaking after the deceased, i can give you more then one on this specific case. Besides, speaking about this option is a good lesson for possible future victims of this “business”.

    One last thing. If my theory is right, what would you say about Sarai’s husband and friends? Especialy the one who cancels her flight on last minute? Why they didnt tell the whole story and maybe police could save her alive and maybe she would spend a few years in jail. This is also a good lesson for future victims’s familys and friends. Think about it.


    1. Sedat
      This is exactly what my Mom and I have been saying soonest we found out about her side trips. I just hope the full truth will come out. I have lived in Turkey 30 years ago and again 15tomorrow years ago and I still travel to Turkey a lot. I feel safer there then anywhere here in America. I live in in south California where there is a lot od drug trafficking so American people know about it. They are just ignorant towards the problem.

  31. After reading Sedat and Yakut, I find this more interesting. I now believe she did something she should have not done, and I don’t mean traveling by yourself. I believe she was trying to make $$$. She had important photos in her IPAD and CELLHONE that someone didn’t want anyone else to see. She knew too much/saw too much…. wow this feels like a movie/novel. Either way it is so sad. Oh and Sedat , her photos did turn out to be impressive for just Ipad photos. Beautiful shots.

    1. I just looked af her Instagram pictures. For a photographer trip there are very little pictures of her 2 weeks in Europe. I travel a lot and I take many pictures which i share on Facebook because my friends and family enjoy seing what I do. I also back up all my pictures on a USB stick ( I lost a laptop once).
      Also for her Family to sell her pictures to pay for her funeral is sad making money of her death. It also shows how poor this family is and that they did not have the money to begin with for her to go on this trip. There is NO info about her stay in Munich which is very strange as well.

      1. I think you are waaay behind this case, and did not follow news. Turkish police is only revealing 95% of what they know. Anything else, all news on the media is crap and not confirmed by law enforcement. The money coming from her pictures did not go for her funeral, but to her children.
        So nobody really knows who showed her Istanbul. Her Munich trip was not a trip but a transfer from Amsterdam to Istanbul.

      2. Thanks for your response. I get so tired of setting the record straight for people who are quicker to judge than to bother learning the facts!

      3. You’re welcome. We read one of the newsman telling the police, “if you do not give me any news, I will make my own news.” This shows how much was fabricated. Sarai never had 1500 Dollars by the way. Her credit card statement showed very small expenses mainly for food.
        She never had sex with Taylan in a bar, this is disgusting news to say the least., Taylan and his lawyer refuted this. They just had coffee.
        For people asking why she took pictures with her ipad, in fact she did have a camera but did not like carrying it because it was heavy. There is nothing surprising about that, she was a petite woman.
        Anyway the suspect is now in Syria or Iran and we may never learn the truth.

  32. A serious researcher would focus on THE most odd but verified, aspect of this story:

    The trips to Germany and Holland AFTER she had been in Turkey, and her return to Turkey. They make no sense, and are too expensive, and long flights, leaving hardly any time for photography. They also are HARD FACTS.

    Second comes is the sexual relationship which Tyran confessed to.

    1. Still no info about her Munich trip which I find very odd. If this was a robbery for her Ipad and phone they would have snatched her bag, it happens in large cities every day. And why did she hook up with guys. I’m sure there would be many females happy to show her Istanbul. I lived in Turkey woman just don’t hang out with guys. Specially if the woman is a foreigner. She is from New York and I believe her background is Purto Rico, both are high crime places. So she should have been pretty street smart.

  33. Sedat, you may not realize this; but the majority of people these days can be considered “poor”. Especially if they have children. I’m surprised people are even still using that word.

  34. I can not believe American media is quoting Turkish tabloids, most of them are trash. I will not believe any of this until police makes an official statement.

  35. Well now that the killer Ziya is caught, and confessed to Sarai’s murder, I invite everybody who passed judgments to sit back and think. I hope this incident teaches us not to be judgmental but first weight the fact before we speak.
    May God forgive this derelict man for committing this crime, May Sarai’s family be rest in peace because the justice will be served against him. He killed an honest, innocent woman a mother and a wife who was a guest in our country. May her soul rest in peace.

    1. Hear, hear, Yakut! Thank you for being a voice of reason & compassion amid the noise of judgment! I would love it if you would become a member of the Missing Americans Project (www.missingamericans.ning.com) — it costs nothing, you won’t be spammed. Our families need to see and hear more reasonable and compassionate voices to drown out the Internet trolls.
      If you’d like to know more about MAP, please feel free to contact me directly at missingamerican.optonline.net.

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