Sunday, March 17, 2013

Turkey: Police Arrest Suspected Murderer of US Solo Tourist Sarai Sierra Near Syrian Border

As a follow-up to my 10+ postings on the murder of US tourist Sarai Sierra, 33, a married mother of two that headed off to Istanbul on a solo visit, having been estranged from her husband, Steven,  I would urge our readers who are unfamiliar with this case to read the first posting of January 28 through February 11, 2013.

According to Reuters, and thanks to the persistence of the Turkish police, investigators have arrested the suspected murderer of Ms. Sierra, nicknamed Laz Ziya, who was arrested in Reyhanli in Turkey's southern Hatay province near the border with Syria in recent days.

COMMENT: The body of Sierra was found in the ruins of Istanbul's old city wall on February 2, the victim of blunt-force trauma.

She had left her home in Staten Island on January 7 for a two-week visit to Istanbul. Unfortunately, she fell in with less than reputable acquaintances during her time in Turkey.

When she did not return home on January 21, her husband flew out to Istanbul to find out what happened to her, seeking the assistance of the Turkish police and the US Consulate General.

Side trips to Munich and Amsterdam were never fully explained in media reports and while her intent was to follow her passion for photography, yet she did not possess a serious camera.

Ms. Sierra's trip to Istanbul was her first abroad. No doubt, she may have erred in traveling alone, and may not have had the street skills necessary to effective maneuver the multitude of risks faced by a woman traveling abroad for the first time.  

As I have said so often in the past, traveling abroad these days is fraught with personal risks that only seasoned travelers can fathom. Making any trip abroad requires planning, research and a traveler with a strong sense of personal security awareness.

I continue to market and promote my SAFE FOREIGN TRAVEL workshops, which sadly few travelers think they have a need for. Yet, such training is an excellent way of heading off calamities that may indeed be irreversible.