American Tourist Missing in Turkey

Sarai Sierra had been staying in dangerous neighborhood

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 29, 2013 5:52 AM CST

(Newser) – Sarai Sierra left for her "dream trip," photographing architecture in Istanbul, on Jan. 7. But when her return flight landed on Jan. 22, she wasn't on it. Now her husband and brother have joined in the search for the American woman in Turkey, USA Today reports. Sierra was the only tourist staying in an apartment building in a dangerous neighborhood known for drug dealing. "If you want to see hell, just go a few streets down," says a woman who lives on the same street.

But police say rape and murder is rare, especially when it comes to tourists, and no one interviewed could remember another foreigner disappearing recently. Sierra, 33, was last heard from the day before her flight home, when she told her sister she was going to photograph a bridge in an upscale district. When she did not return home the following day, her landlord went to check on her and found her passport and her belongings in her room. Sierra's husband, Steven, is a bus driver in New York City; the couple has two children.

Journalists in the street with the hostel, in yellow, where Sarai Sierra, a New York City woman, 33, was staying in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013.   (AP Photo)
In this image provided by the family, Sarai Sierra is shown in an undated family photo, in New York.   (AP Photo/Family Photo)
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