Turkey Police Link Homeless Man's DNA to Murdered American Mom

Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 05:29 AM

By Marti Lotman

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DNA found on the body of an American woman murdered in Turkey matches that of a homeless man suspected in her death, according to Turkish authorities.
 
The homeless man, identified only as “Ziya T,” is believed to be fleeing toward the Syrian border, according to the Dogan News Agency in Turkey.
 
Blood found on 33-year-old Sarai Sierra’s T-shirt — along with skin taken from under her fingernails —matches DNA from a pillow retrieved from the home of the homeless man’s family, Fox News reports.
 
Sierra, a freelance photographer, traveled to Istanbul alone on vacation to take pictures after a friend backed out of the trip at the last minute. After failing to return to the United States on a Jan. 21 flight, a search began for the American mother of two.
 
Her body was found Feb. 2 near Istanbul’s ancient walls, an area that the 46-year-old homeless man was known to frequent. She was killed by a single blow to the head, according to authorities.
 
Although there was no visible sign of sexual assault, her body had multiple head and face injuries and she was found wearing only a shirt and underwear, according to reports.
 
The man was allegedly seen in the area around the ancient walls covered in mud and dirt on Jan. 21, the day Sierra disappeared. When asked about his appearance by a witness, he said: “I fell off the wall,” according to Turkish newspaper Vatan.
 
Authorities believe the man killed Sierra after trying to rob and rape her.
 
The suspect has a mental disability and had been making some money collecting trash, his brother told Turkish media. He does not make regular contact with his family and his current location is unknown, reports UPI.

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