The investigation continues into the death of Staten Island mother Sarai Sierra, who was killed in Turkey.
Her best friend and her father told Fox 5 they are devastated beyond words and are trying to cope with their loss. They are also defending her reputation against swirling suspicions about the true nature of her trip to Turkey.
A published report claims Sarai associated with a criminal element in Turkey and was there for more than taking pictures of monuments. A Turkish newspaper says the first day Sarai arrived in Istanbul, she met up with a man she'd been communicating with online and that man reportedly claims that he had sex with her the day before she went missing.
Dennis Jimenez, Sarai's father, said people will remember his daughter the way they remember her.
Sarai's best friend, who was supposed to go with her on the trip but canceled at the last minute, sounded near tears when I spoke to her. Magdalena Rodriguez said any allegation that Sarai was involved with criminal types or any criminal activity was totally false.
Both the FBI in New York and in the Washington office, which is involved with the investigation into her murder, declined to comment.
Her body was prepared in Istanbul for the final flight home. Turkish Airlines is donating the airfare to bring her body back to New York to be laid to rest.
Sierra's casket was loaded onto a plane on Thursday bound for New York.