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Sarai Sierra: Missing New York City mother found dead in Turkey, reports say

Police forensics search for missing New York City woman Sarai Sierra near the remnants of some ancient city walls in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Her body was eventually discovered amid the city walls. AP Photo

turkey, Sarai Sierra, istanbul
Police forensics search for Sarai Sierra near the remnants of some ancient city walls in Istanbul, Turkey on Feb. 2, 2013
AP Photo

(CBS/AP) ANKARA, Turkey - The body of Sarai Sierra, a married mother of two from New York City,  was discovered Saturday evening near the remnants of the ancient city walls of Istanbul where she was traveling alone, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.

PICTURES: N.Y. mom found dead in Turkey

The agency said Sierra was found with a head wound and a blanket near her body. She was wearing jeans, a jumper and a jacket. She also had still had her earrings and a bracelet. 

Police said she suffered a fatal blow to the head.

Turkish authorities finished an autopsy Monday and submitted DNA samples to a crime lab for testing. Police were still scouring the area where the body was found for clues with the help of sniffer dogs, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Sierra, 33, went missing Jan. 21 while on a solo vacation in Istanbul. She left for Istanbul to explore her photography hobby and was in regular contact with friends and relatives during the trip. She reportedly told them she would visit Galata Bridge, which spans Istanbul's Golden Horn waterway, to take photos.

The body was found not far from the bridge.

The Milliyet newspaper said a forensic medicine lab will examine samples from Sierra's fingernails as well as hair and other samples from a blanket found near her body. It said some nail scrapings suggest she may have tried to fight off her attacker.

More than a dozen people were questioned in the case but most of them have been released, Milliyet reported. It said three people were still being held for questioning.

Complete coverage of Sarai Sierra on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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