Thursday, January 31, 2013

Western Europe: Questions on the Disappearance of Sarai Sierra, 33, Mother of Two

COMMENT: The more I hear about the disappearance of US tourist Sarai Sierra, 33, the more my instincts nag at me that there is something not exactly correct in the account that has been disseminated to local and international media.

As someone who has spent the better part of an entire career finding missing persons abroad, several questions have not been addressed in media accounts:

1. Why would a young mother of 33 suddenly travel alone for a two-week period without her devoted husband? How solid was their marriage?

2. Why were Turkish police only notified of Ms. Sierra's disappearance on January 25, when her family had not heard from her since January 21?

3. When was the US Consulate General in Istanbul notified that she was missing?

4. Why did she travel to Germany and The Netherlands? This has never been explained.

5. Although her husband has acknowledged to the media that he was aware of her side trips to Munich and Amsterdam and  a Dutch "tour guide" that she had been communicating with communicating with on social media, did he have no questions concerning these activities?

6. She was originally planning to travel to Istanbul with a friend. Who was the friend and why did that person not accompany her? Has the trip with the friend been corroborated?

7. Why would a young woman accustomed to NEVER being far from her cell phone and charger leave them in the hostel she was staying at?

8. Ms. Sierra has been described as a "photographer." What does that mean? 

9. If Sierra was such a serious photographer, where is/are her camera(s), which might very well produce crucial leads to her activities and movements, including her side trips to Amsterdam and Munich?

10. A close friend of Sarai Sierra's has told the media that her friend was prone to sudden fainting spells. If this is so, why in the world was Sierra traveling alone?

Clearly, there are far too many questions that need to be answered before this young traveler can be successfully found.

It has now been ten days since Ms. Sierra disappeared.