Updated 01/27/2013 05:39 PM
S.I. Woman Disappears During Trip To Turkey
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A Staten Island man is heading to Turkey Sunday in search of his wife, who disappeared last week while visiting that country.
The family of Sarai Sierra says she had been traveling in Istanbul since January 7 and last made contact with them on January 21.
The 33-year-old photographer was supposed to have come home on January 22, but the airline says she never got on the plane.
Sierra's husband Steven said the sudden disappearance is not typical of her behavior.
"Heard nothing from her, can't get through to her, her phone has been off," Steven Sierra said. "Her passport has been found in her room among the other few of her personal belongings in the room that she was renting. Her belongings are still there. This is not Sarai's character at all."
"I just want my daughter found and I want her to come home," said Betsey Jiminez, Sarai Sierra's mother.
Steven and Sarai were married at the Christian Penticostal church in 1998 after meeting years before. Friends of the family and church leaders say they are praying for her safe return.
"We prayed this morning. Her mother was here. Very distraught. The whole family is distraught. We are just praying that she is okay and everything was a misunderstanding and hopefully she will be back with her family soon," said Rev. John Carlo of the Christian Pentecostal Church.
"This woman has two sons. She is happily married. She is a clean Christian woman. The entire Staten Island is praying that she returns home in one piece," said Rachel Norman, a family friend.
Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island said he is troubled by the facts surrounding Sarai Sierra's disappearance, and his office has been working to locate and bring her home.
Meantime, the Sierra family has set up a website for those looking to make a donation for their search efforts overseas.
Several area churches are also providing financial support to the family as they continue their search.