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Staten Island mom's body flown back from Turkey

February 8, 2013 6:43:25 AM PST
A Staten Island woman found dead near the remnants of ancient city walls in Turkey will be buried just steps away from the apartment where she and her husband were raising their two sons.

The family of Sarai Sierra was finalizing arrangements for her funeral as her body was being flown back to the U.S. by Turkish Airlines.

The 33-year-old woman was found dead 12 days after she disappeared in Istanbul. Police said she was killed by a blow to the head. No arrests have been made.

The funeral will be Feb. 15 at Christian Pentecostal Church, where she met and married her husband, Steven. Burial will follow at Silver Mount Cemetery, a few blocks from the family's Staten Island apartment building.

Two viewing periods are set for Feb. 14 at the church at 900 Richmond Road on Staten Island. They will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Steven Sierra and his wife's brother, David Jimenez, returned to New York from Istanbul on Wednesday after flying there to help in the search and investigation. Jimenez said Steven informed the two boys, ages 9 and 11, of their mother's fate when he returned.

Sarai Sierra's parents said earlier in the week the family was waiting for Steven to return before telling the boys what happened to their mother. They had been told their father went to get her after she missed her plane home on Jan. 21.

"With children, it's very difficult," said John Rocco Carlo, the pastor of Christian Pentecostal Church, who said he advised the family on how to talk with the youngsters. "Fortunately, they have a wonderful family to lean on."

Sierra's family said she was on her first trip abroad pursuing a newfound hobby of photography. Jimenez said he has put the photos she posted on the photo-sharing site Instagram up for sale to raise money for her sons' education and other future needs.

CLICK HERE to see pictures from Istanbul, where Sierra's body was found.

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