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Sunday
Mar172013

Sarai Sierra Murder Suspect Detained in Turkey

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Police in Turkey have detained a man suspected of killing Sarai Sierra, a New York mother of two who had traveled to the country to practice her photography hobby.

The man was taken into custody Sunday in Istanbul and identified by authorities only as Ziya T. He had reportedly been on the run since Sierra's body was discovered last month.

Sierra, 33, was found bludgeoned to death near a highway in Istanbul on Feb. 2. Her iPhone and iPad, the tools she used to share her photos with her thousands of Instagram followers were reportedly missing.

The Staten Island woman traveled to Turkey alone on Jan. 7 after a friend who was supposed to go with her had to cancel. It was Sierra's first overseas trip, and she kept in contact with her family the entire time, they said, sharing stories of her journey and posting photos online.

She was last heard from on Jan. 21, the day she was due to board a flight home to New York City.

Sierra had been scheduled to arrive home at Liberty Newark International Airport on Jan. 22. When her husband, Steven Sierra, called the airline, he was told his wife never boarded the flight from Istanbul.

An intense two-week search for for Sarai Sierra ended when her battered body was found.

The motive for the killing is still unknown.

The family of the amateur photographer put her photos up for sale and quickly sold enough photographs to pay for her funeral, Sierra's brother said.

The photos remain on sale and the profits will now be going to her two sons, ages 11 and 9, the family said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio