Suspect in Tourist's Murder: Turkish Homeless Man

He allegedly tried to accost Sarai Sierra the day she disappeared

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 14, 2013 11:12 AM CST

(Newser) – Police in Turkey are looking for a 46-year-old homeless man who they say has become the top suspect in the murder of Staten Island mom Sarai Sierra. The homeless man, referred to only as "Z," allegedly accosted Sierra on the day she disappeared, and is often seen in the area where her body was found, the New York Post reports.

Police believe Z may have mugged Sierra near the city's walls, then tried to rape her and killed her when she resisted. That contradicts earlier reports, which said Sierra's jewelry wasn't taken from her, indicating no robbery. One newspaper report said the man was seen covered in mud on the day she disappeared, and when asked how he had gotten that way he replied, "I fell off the wall." Sierra will be buried in Staten Island today, on what would have been her 15th wedding anniversary.

A man holds her photo at the left as people carry the casket of murdered New York woman Sarai Sierra from the Surp Yerrortutyun church to an ambulances in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 6, 2013.
A man holds her photo at the left as people carry the casket of murdered New York woman Sarai Sierra from the Surp Yerrortutyun church to an ambulances in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 6, 2013.   (AP Photo)
People carry the casket of murdered New York woman Sarai Sierra from the Surp Yerrortutyun church to an ambulances in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 6, 2013.
People carry the casket of murdered New York woman Sarai Sierra from the Surp Yerrortutyun church to an ambulances in Istanbul, Turkey, Feb. 6, 2013.   (AP Photo)
A member of the Istanbul-based Association For Families With Lost Relatives hands out flyers with photos of Sarai Sierra.
A member of the Istanbul-based Association For Families With Lost Relatives hands out flyers with photos of Sarai Sierra.   (AP Photo)
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