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Sarai Sierra: FBI investigating New York City woman's death in Istanbul

In this image provided by the family, Sarai Sierra is shown in an undated family photo, in New York. Sierra has reportedly gone missing during a trip to Turkey. She last contacted her family, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, the day she was to fly from Istanbul to New York. (AP Photo/Family Photo) uncredited

Sarai Sierra
AP Photo/Family Photo
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - A U.S. congressman says the FBI is playing a significant role in the investigation into the death of Sarai Sierra, the New York city woman found dead in Istanbul while on a solo vacation.

PICTURES: N.Y. mom found dead in Turkey

Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, says U.S. investigators were invited by Turkish authorities to assist as they try to find out what happened to the 33-year-old mother of two.

Sierra went missing Jan. 21 while on vacation in Istanbul. Her body was found 12 days later, near the remnants of the city's ancient walls. Police said she had suffered a fatal blow to the head.

Prosecutors in Istanbul got a court order Monday for authorities to take blood and DNA samples from 21 people already questioned in the death of a New York city woman, state media reported.

Turkish authorities finished an autopsy on Sierra earlier in the day and gave DNA samples from it to a crime lab for testing, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. After that, Istanbul prosecutors got the court order but did not identify the possible suspects, the agency reported.

Grimm and Sierra's parents, Betzaida and Dennis Jimenez, say the family's immediate concern is returning Sierra's body to the U.S.

Her husband, Steven, is in Turkey. He intends to accompany her body, but the family is still determining how to fund the transport.

Grimm says the family's priority is to bring her home.

Complete coverage of Sarai Sierra on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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