Cops release first photos of Saudi sisters found duct-taped together

2 bound bodies found in NYC were missing Virginia sisters

Relatives of two Saudi Arabian sisters found floating in a New York City river, bound together with duct tape, have rejected suggestions that the pair committed suicide.

The Farea sisters from Saudia Arabia, Rotana, 22 and Tala, 16, had been living in Fairfax, Virgina and were reported missing in August.

In a statement, the Saudi Consulate General said embassy officials in Washington had contacted the family and "extended its support and aid in this trying time".

The police department released new passport-style photographs on Wednesday showing the two young women with headscarves over their hair.

According to an Arab News report cited by the NYT, the younger of the two sisters had been living with their mother in Fairfax, while the older one had been living in NY. NYPD Chief Detective Dermot Shea told reporters on Wednesday that detectives have gone to Virginia and interviewed family and associates.

Embassy officials said they were "following closely and constantly for details on the case" and had appointed a lawyer to help in this.

"I think we've made significant progress in piecing together pieces of this puzzle to find out what happened", Shea said.

They were pronounced dead at the scene along the riverbanks on Manhattan's Upper West Side, police said.

Officials wouldn't confirm the report publicly but did confirm they're looking into the sisters' immigration status.

Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma on their bodies, adding that both had been reported missing multiple times in the past, and had recently requested asylum in the US.

DailyMail.com has learned Rotana, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was an undergraduate at George Mason University from January 2016 until May of this year.

Tala Farea and Rotana Farea were found dead on October 24 near New York City's Hudson River. A George Mason spokesman called the news of her death "tragic", and said the university was cooperating with police.

Tala was last seen Aug, 24, according to a posting on the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Virginia cops eventually found them, but they went to go stay in a shelter, the location of which wasn't disclosed by cops to the parents, sources said.

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