Family, friends mourn death of SI mother killed in Turkey - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Family, friends mourn death of SI mother killed in Turkey

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The friends and family of a Staten Island mom, whose body was found at the side of a road in Turkey on Saturday, are left to wonder what happened. 

She had been missing after going on vacation in Istanbul. Those friends understandably having a hard time coping with Sarai's death – they, like many had held out hope she would be found alive.

Sunday, we learned Sarai died of blunt trauma to the head, but who is responsible remains a mystery. 

"She had an awesome smile, she was very upbeat, very sarcastic, she was a real city girl and I'll never forget her," said Nina Rivera, Sarai Sierra's friend. 

33-year-old Sarai Sierra is being remembered as a vibrant woman and great mom Sunday – one day after authorities in Turkey announced they found her body at the side of a roadway in Istanbul with signs of blunt trauma to her head, capping off a nearly two week search after she vanished while on a solo photography vacation. 

"There's anger, there's questions that we have," said Rivera. 

Among the questions which Sierra's friends want desperately answered – what happened on January 21st, the day she was last heard from and the day before she was supposed to return to New York. 

The Staten Island mom of two had been in constant contact with her family up until then, frequently posting photos of her trip to her Instagram account. 

Fox 5 has some of the last known images of Sierra taken from security cameras in a mall in Istanbul on January 20th. Now more than a dozen people are being questioned according to Turkish media -- this as her friends back home begin the mourning process. 

"We're still uncertain what happened, but she called out to God the last moments of her life." 

Sierra's close friend Nina Rivera was among the mourners attending a special prayer service Sunday afternoon at the Manhattan Grace Tabernacle Church in East Harlem where the Sierra's were once members. 

"Everybody got together, we prayed for the family, for their loved ones, for their suffering," said Ruben Gonzalez, Congregant. 

Sierra's husband Steven and her brother traveled to Istanbul to assist authorities in their search and remain there, but her two sons, 9 and 11 are at home and according to friends still don't know what happened to their mom.

"I know for sure Steven hasn't spoken to his boys yet, I think he wants to do that face to face," said Rivera.

Forensic experts have not yet concluded their autopsy of Sarai's body. We know Turkish authorities are questioning a man with whom Sarai reportedly exchanged emails with while she was in Turkey, but it's not clear if that man is among the group that has been detained for questioning in her murder.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:37:52 GMT
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
  • Times Square to go gold for cancer research

    Times Square to go gold for cancer research

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:04:06 GMT
    Things are looking up for cute little Cami King. Not only is her cancer in remission, she also just got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Elmo in Times Square. But, if you can believe it, there's something else this 4-year-old is even more excited about: Times Square is going gold. The chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition announced the crossroads of the world is going to light up in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
    Things are looking up for cute little Cami King. Not only is her cancer in remission, she also just got to meet Mickey, Minnie and Elmo in Times Square. But, if you can believe it, there's something else this 4-year-old is even more excited about: Times Square is going gold. The chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition announced the crossroads of the world is going to light up in gold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
  • Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 5:42 PM EDT2014-08-19 21:42:12 GMT
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he makes about $150 a day in tips dressing up as the Statue of Liberty. He says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he makes about $150 a day in tips dressing up as the Statue of Liberty. He says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
Powered by WorldNow

WTXF-TV
330 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-2796

Phone: (215) 925-2929
Fax: (215) 982-5494

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices