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mysteries

Police flummoxed by mysterious deaths of Saudi sisters in New York City

It's been one week since police recovered the bodies of two sisters from the Hudson River in New York City, and they are still trying to determine how the women got into the water.

Authorities say that Rotana Farea, 22, and Tala Farea, 16, were both dressed in similar black leggings and fur-trimmed jackets, and bound together at their waists and ankles by duct tape. In a press conference Wednesday, New York police said the medical examiner determined the sisters were both alive when they entered the water, but the exact cause of death is not known and there are no obvious signs of trauma. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said this "has not been determined a homicide," but the deaths are considered suspicious. The sisters did not have registered phones or social media profiles.

The sisters were citizens of Saudi Arabia. A law enforcement source told CBS News that their mother, who lives in Virginia, told police that earlier this month, the Saudi government called her and said the family had to return to the kingdom because the sisters had applied for asylum in the United States. The Saudi consulate in New York on Tuesday said the sisters were students who accompanied their brother to Washington; CBS News reports they lived in Fairfax, Virginia, and were last seen there in September.