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US Tourist Killed Istanbul:Murdered New Yorker Sarai Sierra body back to USA /US News

The body of a New York City woman Sarai Sierra killed while on a solo vacation in Turkey is being returned to the US.

The remains of Sarai Sierra, 33, are expected to arrive on Thursday, the New York Daily News reported.

Turkish Airlines is providing the transportation for free, after Ms Sierra’s family expressed concerns about how they would pay to bring her body home.

Ms Sierra was found near Istanbul’s ancient city walls 12 days after she failed to board her flight back to the US.

Sierra’s husband, Steven, went to Istanbul after she went missing to help in the search for her. He is expected to return to New York on Wednesday to finalise funeral arrangements.

A Staten Island funeral home had offered its services free of charge, but it was unclear whether the family had accepted the offer.

Turkish authorities concluded Ms Sierra was killed by a blow to the head.

She had been in regular contact with her family on Staten Island during her three-week trip, which she took alone after a childhood friend, Magalena Rodriguez, backed out.

At a news conference in New York, Ms Rodriguez fought back tears as she said she wished she had not changed her plans.

The FBI is aiding Turkish police in investigating her death.

Earlier this week prosecutors obtained a court order to take blood and DNA samples from 21 people questioned in the case, according to Turkish state media.

Ms Sierra’s family has said she was on her first trip abroad pursuing a new hobby of photography.

She posted some of her work on the photo-sharing website Instagram, and her page there has attracted thousands of new visitors since news broke of her disappearance.

The victim’s mother, in an interview on NBC’s Today show, said the family has not yet told Ms Sierra’s two children, aged nine and 11, of their mother’s fate.

“The father’s going to talk to them when he gets back and we’ll all be there to support, ” Betzaida Jimenez said.

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