Monday, February 11, 2013

Turkey: Update--Sarai Sierra: The Worst Place for a Marriage in Conflict is Abroad

COMMENT: According to THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, the days leading up to the brutal murder of Staten Island resident Sarai Sierra, 33, at least based on social media exchanged between Sierra and her husband, Steven Sierra, 40, suggest that the marriage between the Sierras was conflicted and that Ms. Sierra may have been "two-timing" him.

According to one news report, Sarai ignored messages Steven sent to her a week before January 7, the day of her departure for Turkey.

Reportedly, Steven Sierra last spoke with Sarai on January 14. Her bludgeoned body was found in Istanbul on February 2, twelve days after she was supposed to have flown back to New York City from Istanbul.

During my many years abroad as a US Department of State Senior Regional Security Officer (RSO), I learned all too well that large embassies are simply a smaller version of US communities. That being said, embassies are similar to small American communities where intimate and interpersonal relations are subject to the same psychological vulnerabilities that we all face in life.

Experience tells me that when one or more members of a relationship travels abroad, while undergoing marital conflict, particularly alone, stress and conflict can escalate very dramatically, which often results in travelers making bad choices, like consorting with "criminal elements."

Essentially, any marriage in trouble needs to be resolved at "home" and face-to-face, not by having one party travel alone abroad by escaping the realities on the "home-front,"  thereby being vulnerable to illicit liaisons.

Although reports vary in terms of validity, Ms. Sierra reportedly met with at least two men while she was abroad.

According to media reports, the FBI is reviewing Ms. Sierra's disappearance and death and has noted many of the factors I've described in several of my postings and has publicly said that there are many inconsistencies.

Being a semi-professional photographer, I continue to be plagued by the fact that having traveled to one of the most exotic and picturesque cities in the world for two weeks, why is that Sarai did not own a camera?

Admittedly, she did have an iPad and a mobile phone, but carrying an iPad about the streets of Istanbul is simply unwise from a security standpoint, given the city being a magnet for thieves and con-artists.

Not only is it awkward for an iPad user to take photos in Istanbul's congested streets, yet another inconsistency is the fact that Ms. Sierra's mobile phone was found in her hostel. So, again, why didn't she purchase a digital camera for her trip, when the sole purpose of her trip was ostensibly photography? Or was it? Why did she travel to Holland and Germany? Who paid for such travel?