The day before the bodies were discovered on 24 October, the sisters’ mother told detectives that she had received a call from an official at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, ordering the family to leave the US because her daughters had applied for political asylum, New York police said on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia’s consulate general in New York said in a statement that it had “appointed an attorney to follow the case closely”. It said embassy officials in Washington had contacted the family and “extended its support and aid in this trying time”. It added that the sisters were students “accompanying their brother in Washington”. The case has immediately heightened tension over relations with Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul earlier this month.