Turkish police say Sarai Sierra, the 33-year-old Staten Island mother of two who went missing and was later found dead in Istanbul, had suffered a fatal blow to the head.
On Sunday, Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said that forensic experts had not concluded their autopsy report on Sierra but that it was "clear" the head injury caused her death.
NTV, a Turkish broadcaster, says 15 people have been detained for questioning in the case.
Sierra was last heard from on January 21st, the day she was scheduled to fly home.
"She was stabbed, they're doing an autopsy -- there's nothing that has really been released yet," said Marjorie Ryan.
Ryan is speaking on behalf of Sierra's family.
Turkish police say Sierra's body was found near a popular tourist area. Reportedly, an eyewitness saw a man possibly dump her body there.
Sierra had traveled alone to Istanbul on January 7th to explore her photography hobby.
Ryan was asked why did Sierra travel by herself.
"I've traveled overseas lots of times. You know it's just one of those things. She was going with a friend and then at the last moment, the friend was not able to go," said Ryan. "She has a hobby as a photographer and she was very just very anxious to take pictures."
Sierra had two children ages 9 and 11.
The trip to Turkey was the first time she had traveled alone overseas. Esther Santisi knew Sarai since she was a little girl.
"She was a doll. She worked at the chiropractor's office that I used to go. Full of life, she was so happy, you know. She was just a wonderful, person, a wonderful mother -- I can't imagine how her husband feels right now."
Her husband says he spoke to his wife every day she was away.
Images of Sierra in an Istanbul mall are the last known images of her alive. She's seen with her long hair tucked under her hat riding down an escalator, sitting down to eat, and walking.
In every image, she's by herself.
However, police say while in Turkey, Sierra exchanged emails with a Turkish man who claims that she never showed up for a planned meeting.
That man has been questioned by police.
Right now not clear if this man is among the 11 people being questioned.
KDFW FOX 4
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