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Wake Held For Staten Island Woman Found Murdered In Turkey

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A wake was held Thursday for the Staten Island mother who was found murdered in Turkey.

Sarai Sierra's body was flown back to the United States last week. The 33-year-old mother of two was found beaten to death in Istanbul 12 days after she went missing.

Sierra's casket was brought into the Christian Pentecostal Church on Staten Island, the same church where she and her husband Steve Sierra met and were married.

"This has been devastating on the family," said Rev. John Carlo.

Carlo and others offered condolences to the woman's husband and their two sons, ages 11 and 9.

"Very sad thing. It's unfortunate, things happen, and we're here to support and pay tribute to our daughter," the victim's father-in-law Richard Sierra told CBS 2's John Slattery.

The Sierras' marriage was reportedly on the rocks.

Her recent trip to Europe was to be for two weeks. Turkish media has reported that Sarai Sierra had a secret lover. They also reported that her husband -- a week before his wife's solo trip -- posted in a Facebook message:

"Don't cheat in relationship(s), If you are not happy, then just leave" and also reportedly posted "A real relationship is when you tell each other everything & anything. No secrets, no lies."

More than a dozen people have been questioned in the case. So far, there have been no arrests. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.

Sarai Sierra
Sarai Sierra casket (credit: CBS 2)

According to Turkish police, one of the men questioned in connection to her death admitted having an affair with Sierra.

Family friends, however, said they will wait for the facts to come out.

"When you read things, you can't believe everything you read. Because there's conflicting information, different places.  So I think we just have to wait for the final investigation to be done and completed and be concerned about the family," said Frank Carlo.

Police said Sierra had suffered a fatal blow to the head. She also had been stabbed.

Sierra traveled to Istanbul alone on Jan. 7 to explore her photography hobby. She also made a side trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. It was her first trip outside of the United States.

Sierra's funeral will be held Friday at the church. She will then be buried at Silver Mount Cemetery.

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