Turkey police link homeless man’s DNA to Sarai Sierra murder

Posted at 9:00 PM, Feb 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-20 21:00:57-05

Police have a suspect in the murder of Staten Island mom Sarai Sierra, who was killed in Turkey during a photography trip.

DNA from blood and skin found on her body have been matched to a homeless man identified as Ziya T., according to reports.  A nationwide manhunt is now in progress, and detectives fear that the man may have fled across the Syrian border.

Police managed to pull the DNA samples from blood on her shirt, as well as skin cells found under her fingernails, according to the Dogan News Agency of Turkey.

Sarai Sierra, from Staten Island, New York, had been missing since January 22, when she was supposed to return to the United States. Her father, who had gone to the airport to pick her up, originally thought his daughter had been detained in customs, he said.

After a search that included her husband and brother traveling to Istanbul, Turkish police found Sierra’s body Saturday, near ancient stone walls in Istanbul’s Sarayburnu district, according to the semi-official Anatolian news agency.