It has been over four months since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. And as details of the murder slowly and consistently trickle in, the Turkish police believe that the journalist's fiancée Hatice Cengiz could have been the second victim of the murder on October 2.
Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu, citing a police report, said that the Saudi killers would have murdered Cengiz too, had they known that she was waiting for Khashoggi outside the Saudi consulate. It was Cengiz who had alerted the police of Khashoggi's disappearance, after he did not return from the consulate.
Khashoggi's friends and fiancée had said that the journalist visited the Saudi consulate as he was set to get married soon and needed to finish some paperwork that would permit him to tie the knot. While Cengiz clearly said that he did not leave the consulate, Saudi Arabia has denied these reports and said that Khashoggi had left the consulate minutes after arriving and that his whereabouts weren't known to anyone.
It later came to light that the journalist, a vocal critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by a 15-men squad of Saudi operatives. It was said that Khashoggi's body was cut up in pieces and dissolved in acid to avoid leaving any trace, allegedly on the orders of the crown prince.
But now, the Turkish police suspect that Khashoggi's dismembered body may have been carried out of the consulate to the consul general's residence nearby where his remains were burnt in a cooking furnace.
The Associated Press, quoting the Anadolu report, said that the consulate has two wells, a wood floor and gas furnace, which could easily burn the body leaving no traces of DNA.
Khashoggi's brutal murder made international headlines and drew the ire of several world leaders, who lashed out at Salman for the killing. Such was the backlash that US senators slammed the crown prince and said that the journalist's murder had caused a breach in the US-Saudi relationship.
Labelling Salman "a wrecking ball," Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said that the suspicions against the crown prince had gotten stronger after a CIA briefing on the murder by director Gina Haspel. "There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw," the Washington Post quoted him as saying, which is a reference to the bone saw that was used to murder Khashoggi. "I think he's complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible," he added.
He said that even though the two nations have always maintained good equation, it doesn't mean that US will stand by everything Riyadh does. He also said that it was now time for Washington to come down on the government in Riyadh like "a ton of bricks."
"Saudi Arabia's a strategic ally and the relationship is worth saving - but not at all costs," Graham said, adding that he could not support the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia any more.
Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, agreed with Graham and added that the CIA meeting "just confirmed what I thought all along: This all leads up to the crown prince." He added that it was illogical to think that someone other than the crown prince had ordered Khashoggi's murder.
Other senators who attended the briefing also seemed to have a similar opinion and Sen. Bob Corker, Republican Tennessee noted: "If the Crown Prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes."