The two women whose dead bodies were found duct-taped together on the shores of the Hudson River have been identified as Rotana Farea, 22, and her younger sister, 16-year-old Tala Farea, two missing sisters from Virginia.
As The New York Post reports, the two women had been last seen in Virginia on August 24, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is not clear, as of this writing, how their remains were identified.
As The Metro reported at the time, last week biker Martin Castillo, 40, was riding his bike through New York City’s Riverside Park when he made the grisly discovery: the bodies of two women, duct-taped together, on the rocks alongside the Hudson River. Authorities believed the women had died in the river and that their bodies had been pushed onto the rocks by the incoming tide, and then left there as the tide receded.
“The bodies were on stones. One of them was facing up. She was a woman. I couldn’t believe it. I can’t see how this happened.”
The condition of the two women was baffling. They were both fully-clothed, wearing similar fur-trimmed black coats and black boots. Most distressingly, they were duct-taped together – at the abdomen, as The Post would later report. The bodies showed no signs of trauma, and police did not immediately suspect foul play.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 25, 2018
Investigators have developed a theory that the women entered into a suicide pact and, either by themselves or with the help of a confederate, duct-taped themselves together. They then jumped off Manhattan’s George Washington Bridge into the river below. The current carried them six miles downstream until the tide forced their bodies onto the shore.
Authorities believe that the women were alive and conscious when they entered the water, and that they likely died from drowning. However, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Thursday “they were not in the water that long.” As of this writing, no cause of death has been determined, and autopsy results are pending.
Several unanswered questions still remain about this case. It is not clear, for example, how long the women had been in New York City and what they had been doing while in town. Though the working theory is that the women were victims of suicide, police still plan to investigate thoroughly to rule out the possibility of foul play.
According to a June report in The Great Neck Patch, suicides have been on the rise nationally since 1999, and in New York State, the annual rate of suicides increased 28.8 percent between 1999 and 2016.