Thursday, January 9, 2014

Turkey: Update--Murderer of US Tourist Sarai Sierra, 33, to be Charged with Murder, Sexual Assault

According to, the İstanbul Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) has determined that the Turkish assailant suspected of killing US tourist Sarai Sierra, 33, was not suffering from any mental disorder and was in full control of his faculties at the time the crime took place. 

According to a report released by the ATK, no mental disorder was detected in psychiatric observations and examinations of the defendant; he is fully liable for the crime he allegedly committed on February 2, 2013. 

Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two boys, was murdered while on a solo vacation to Turkey. Twelve days after her disappearance, police found her body behind the ancient city walls in the low-income neighborhood of Cankurtaran. She had reportedly been bludgeoned to death. 

COMMENT: The police, who launched a thorough investigation to find the murderer or murderers of the US tourist, found tissue samples under Sierra's nails during the autopsy and came to believe the DNA extracted from the tissue would prove to belong to the arrested defendant whose family home in the province of Karabük was raided at which point police collected a DNA sample from the brother of the suspect.

The defendant later recounted that Sierra came to the area where he had been sniffing paint thinner. “It was 0100 hours when she came there. I even didn't think that she was an American or a tourist. I thought she was a Turkish woman. It was only after I saw newspapers reporting the disappearance of an American woman that I understood the missing woman was the one that I killed," he said. 

The report has been sent to the İstanbul 5th High Criminal Court, which is hearing the case. 

The assailant been charged with murder in the first degree, sexual assault and theft. Prosecutors are requesting a sentence of 19 years for the suspect. The third hearing of the trial is set to take place on January 16.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.