It was later learned they'd run away from their home in Fairfax before they were placed in a shelter after allegations they were being abused at home.
Rotana and Tala Farea's fully-clothed bodies were found bound together when they washed up on the banks of New York City's Hudson River waterfront.
Rotana Farea, 22, and her sister Tala Farea, 16, drowned in the river after they bound each other together and leaped off the George Washington Bridge on October 24, according to the city Medical Examiner's Office. The New York Police Department (NYPD) said police responded to a 911 call and "upon arrival, officers discovered two unidentified females unconscious and unresponsive with no obvious signs of trauma". Police speculated that they "would rather inflict harm on themselves, commit suicide" than return to Saudi Arabia, where they last lived three years ago.
A witness told police he saw them praying near the river before their bodies were found October 24.
The deaths of two Saudi Arabian sisters who were found duct-taped together on the shore of New York City's Hudson River last October has been ruled as suicides, the city medical examiner's office said on Tuesday.
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Police said the sisters had been in Manhattan since September 1, staying at expensive hotels and ordering in pairs of meals until a credit card they were using maxed out. At the time of the November press conference, those reports had not yet been corroborated by the NYPD, Shea said.
A day before their bodies were found, Tala and Rotana's mother was informed by the Saudi Embassy in Washington that her daughters had previously applied for asylum in the United States after reportedly being ordered home, according to a New York Times report.
The Farea sisters' deaths and the January escape of Saudi teen Rahaf al-Qunun from Saudi Arabia have put the kingdom's guardianship laws, which restrict many aspects of women's lives, back under worldwide scrutiny.
They were last seen together in Fairfax on August 24.