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A Staten Island mom who made plans to meet with a mystery man during a solo vacation to Turkey was found murdered Saturday in a hardscrabble section of Istanbul.
The body of Sarai Sierra, 33, was discovered by local residents near a stretch of ancient walls in the Turkish city, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The mother of two suffered a fatal head wound, and was spotted with a blanket lying nearby — suggesting she was perhaps killed elsewhere and transported there, according to local media reports, which said she had been stabbed in the abdomen.
The battered victim was identified by her driver’s license, a local private television station reported.
Eleven people — two women and nine men — were in custody after the stunning death that left her two young sons without a mother.
“We can’t even put the pieces together right now,” Sierra’s longtime friend Maggie Rodriguez told the Staten Island Advance. “There aren’t words at this time.”
Rodriguez was supposed to join Sierra on the trip but backed out at the last minute for financial reasons. “If I went with her, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” Rodriguez said. “Maybe we would have went to a different spot that day. Maybe we’d be sitting in a cafe, just chit-chatting with each other.”
A family friend told the Daily News Sierra’s parents are devastated — and her boys, ages 9 and 11 — remain in the dark.
“They have no idea,” said Marjorie Ryan. “Nobody knows yet what the situation was. Was it theft? Was it assault? No one knows.”
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