Published February 20, 2013
Turkish authorities have reportedly matched DNA found on a murdered American woman with a homeless man suspected of killing her while she was visiting Istanbul on a solo vacation.
Blood and skin found on 33-year-old Sarai Sierra, of Staten Island, N.Y., has been linked to a homeless man who is believed to be making his way toward the Syrian border, according to the Dogan News Agency in Turkey.
Authorities in Turkey are now hunting for the man, identified only as "Ziya T." Blood found on Sierra's T-shirt as well as skin taken from under her fingernails matches DNA from a pillow found at the home of the man's family, according to the news agency.
Sierra, a freelance photographer, traveled to Istanbul alone on Jan. 7 and failed to return on a flight Jan. 21. Her body was found Feb. 2 near remnants of Istanbul's ancient walls. Authorities said she died from a single blow to the head, though she had multiple injuries to her face and head. While there was no visible sign of a sexual assault, Sierra was found in only a shirt and underwear, according to reports. Her tablet computer and cellphone were missing.
The 46-year-old homeless suspect was known to frequent the area near where Sierra was found. According to the Turkish newspaper Vatan, the man was seen covered with soil and mud on Jan. 21, the day Sierra disappeared. When asked by a witness about what had happened, he replied, "I fell off the wall," the newspaper reported.
Authorities have said it's possible the man tried to first rob Sierra and then rape her, killing her when she resisted.
FoxNews.com's Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.