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Police Detain Man in Connection with Staten Island Woman Missing in Turkey

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 1, 2013 10:41am

STATEN ISLAND — Turkish police have detained a man who exchanged online messages with a Staten Island woman who failed to return home from a vacation in Turkey, the Associated Press reported.

Sarai Sierra, 33, a mother of two from Silver Lake, has been missing since Jan. 21, after failing to come home from a solo vacation in Istanbul, family said.

Police did not release the name or provide further details on the man to the AP, but said they had been questioning him about Sierra's disappearance because he had been in contact with her throughout her vacation.

On Jan. 7, Sierra went on a vacation to Turkey to pursue her photography hobby. She also made side trips to Amsterdam and Munich, the AP said.

Sierra originally planned to go on the trip with a friend, but went alone after the friend couldn’t make the trip.

Her family last heard from Sierra on Jan. 21, when she confirmed the details of her return flight home with her sister.

She told them she was going to visit the Galata Bridge to take photographs as her last stop in Turkey.

“She loved photography,” Sierra’s mother, Betzaida Jimenez, said at her Stapleton home on Monday. “She liked sunsets and she loved bridges.”

Sierra was supposed to meet her contact at the bridge the day she went missing, the AP reported. It is not known if the meeting took place.

Earlier this week, Sierra’s husband, Steve Sierra, and her brother, David Jimenez, flew to Istanbul to help the U.S. Embassy in Turkey search for her.

Family members said that throughout her trip, Sierra kept in contact with them and they were surprised when didn't show up at Newark Airport on her return flight.

“It’s not like my daughter to just not show up,” said her mom.