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Sarai Sierra's family pleads for her return

10:51 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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By Mary Snow

ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) - The family of a missing New York woman who disappeared in Turkey is pleading for help in finding her.

The woman suddenly vanished from Istanbul over a week ago, missing her flight home.

The woman's parents say they're distraught and just want their daughter back.

More than one week after 33-year-old Sarai Sierra disappeared in Turkey, her parents cling to hope.

As they wait in New York, Sierra's husband and brother are in Istanbul working with authorities to find the missing mother of two.

"I see myself being in the airport and seeing her come with her husband and her brother and I see myself just running, just running and grabbing her and holding her," said her mother, Betzaida Jimenez.

The image foremost in their minds right now is this surveillance video. It was released by Turkish police showing Sierra in an Istanbul shopping mall on January 20.

A day earlier, her parents say they spoke to her on Skype.

"She was giving me the flight info, when she was coming in on the 22nd, what the flight was and what time she was coming in and she told me don't forget," said her father, Dennis Jimenez.

They say she had shortened her trip by a few days. Dennis went to Newark Airport to pick up his daughter, but she never showed.

"Because she kept in contact with us all the time, then not to hear from her, it's not like her," said Betzaida.

Sierra traveled by herself to Istanbul on January 7 they say, because a friend who was supposed to go with her canceled. They say she had rented a private room she found on the internet. Her passport and bags were later found inside after she was reported missing.

Perhaps the strongest clues about what may have happened to her may be found online and social media. She documented her trip on Instagram.

Sunset Istanbul-style is one of many entries of her visit, not only to Turkey, but to Amsterdam and Germany for a few days as well.

It was her first trip abroad, one her parents say was prompted by a photography hobby.

As her parents wait for news, they are taking care of Sierra's two boys, working to shield them from what has happened.

"Having the kids, I have to get up and be strong, but I'm just so broken inside," said Betzaida.

And on Sierra's Instagram account, with more than 3,000 followers, they are filled with messages like these: "You're in my thoughts and prayers," "I hope you come home safe."

Sierra's parents maintain the woman's disappearance is totally out of character. She's been married to her husband for 16 years, and they have two sons together.

CNN

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