CRIME
02/13/2013 02:34 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

Sarai Sierra Wake Planned For Valentine's Day; Husband Of Mom Killed In Istanbul Wrote About Rocky Relationship

The wake for a New York mom who was killed in Turkey is scheduled for Valentine's Day, which would have been the 15th anniversary of her engagement to her husband, the Daily News reported.

As cops in Istanbul search for who bludgeoned Sarai Sierra to death earlier this month, questions are arising about why the married mother of two traveled solo.

Initial reports said that Sierra arranged the trip to Istanbul, Amsterdam and Munich to indulge her interest in photography. It was her first trip overseas.

Instagram messages posted by her husband Steven Sierra, however, suggested that their marriage had hit a rocky patch in recent weeks, the Daily Mail reported.

'Don't cheat in relationship[s]," Sierra's 40-year-old husband wrote on Dec. 28. "If you are not happy, then just leave."

Later that day he wrote: "A real relationship is where you can tell each other everything & anything. No secrets, no lies."

On Jan. 7, the day his wife departed for Turkey, he wrote: "Good relationship[s] don't just happen. They take time, patience and two people who truly want to be together."

He spoke to her by phone for the last time on Jan. 14. Three days later, he posted on Instagram: "'People are to be LOVED. Things are to be USED. The reason why the world is in chaos is because THINGS are being LOVED and PEOPLE are being used.'

Sierra, 33, was supposed to fly home to Staten Island on Jan. 21, but never checked in for her flight. Her husband and brother flew to Istanbul to help look for her.

On Feb. 2, her body was found near an ancient wall in Istanbul. Her iPad and phone were missing.

During the trip, Sierra met with friends she'd made online who shared her interest in photography. In Amsterdam, she stayed with a man she'd befriended online.

In Istanbul, she met with a Turkish man identified as Taylan K. the day before she was due to return to the United States. Reports in Turkish media have said the two had sex in a bathroom in a bar, but in a statement put out by Taylan K.'s lawyer, he said the two met for tea. Police have said he is not a suspect.

A source allegedly familiar with the FBI's investigation told the New York Post that Sierra hung out with a "criminal element" during her time in Istanbul.

Sierra's husband, speaking to the New York Times downplayed his Instagram messages as well as the reports of infidelity in their 14-year marriage.

"I just put those up to just encourage other marriages," Steven Sierra said. "It may seem coincidental."

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