Saudi sisters found dead stayed at luxury hotels, maxed out credit cards

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Police in the U.S. say they are still investigating the deaths of two sisters from Saudi Arabia whose bodies were found duct-taped together by the riverbank of New York City's Hudson last week.

Investigators continue to decipher "numerous volumes of records" between their arrival in New York City and October 24, but have records indicating they stayed at a number of high-end hotels, regularly ordered multiple meals a day and went shopping, Shea said. The credit card was maxed out.

"They would rather inflict harm on themselves, commit suicide, than return to Saudi Arabia", Shea said, describing statements the sources made. He saw them sitting together at around 7 a playground at Riverside Park - and the image now haunts him, Shea said.

Officer Tara Gerhard, a spokeswoman for the department, said the sisters were "referred to services, but she could not specify what type of services, nor offer additional details, citing privacy laws". Shea said they used Rotana's credit card to pay for hotel rooms, order food and go shopping.

Police, citing credit card records, an Uber receipt and other evidence, said they arrived in New York City on September 1 after making stops in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Saudi Arabia's consulate general in NY did not comment on the Times report directly.

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According to investigators, the girls' mother, who still lives in Virginia, told police she got a call from the Saudi embassy the day before their bodies were discovered, saying the family had to leave the US because her daughters applied for political asylum. The sisters did, police said, reference the allegations of abuse when applying.

Water was found in the sisters' lungs, the official said, leading investigators to believe they were alive when they entered the water. The girls went missing from the facility around August 23.

The New York Police Department is not ready to determine the official causes of death.

For privacy reasons, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday they could not reveal whether the sisters had applied for asylum.

It was previously reported that the girls left their family home in Virginia after suffering abuse. During the call, a Saudi embassy official instructed her family to leave the USA, due to the fact that her daughters had applied for political asylum, she claimed.

Interviews with family members and others have begun to shed light on "what was going on in the two young ladies' lives", he said. "Detectives have filled in some of the pieces, but we are still looking to get a picture of what happened over the last two months".