Authorities in Australia released photos of two Saudi sisters, 23 and 24, whose bodies were found decomposing inside their apt a Sydney unit in unexplained circumstances
Sisters Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were found dead on June 7, inside their unit at a Canterbury apt. complex, in Sydney’s south-west
Detectives have yet to determine a cause of death, but said they likely died in May, at least a month before the bodies were discovered
It is understood they fled Saudi Arabia in 2017 to seek safe shelter in Australia
The first images have been released of two Saudi sisters who fled their homeland to Australia five years ago only to be found dead last month in questionable circumstances.
The bodies of Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were found in their first-floor unit at an Canterbury apartment complex, in Sydney’s south-west, on June 7. There were no visible signs of a break-in, nor any injuries to the bodies, but police are treating the deaths as “suspicious” because no cause of death has been established.
Local authorities believe the women died in early May – a month before their decomposing remains were uncovered by officers conducting a welfare check.
‘Detectives are interested in speaking with anyone who may have seen or who may have information about the women’s movements in the days and weeks prior to their deaths,’ detective Claudia Allcroft said on Wednesday. However, cause of death is yet to be determined
Still be determined as well is the occupation of the women, despite both women having their own Australian Business Names.
‘We hope that someone may be able to assist our investigators ,’ the police spokesperson said as she appealed to the public to help with information, ‘either through sightings, or those who knew the sisters and may have some information on their movements prior to their death.’
She added that the manager of their apartment building contacted police in mid-March.
‘I believe there was food that had been left out in the common areas, and he contacted police as he was concerned for their welfare,’ she said.
Attending officers said the women ‘appeared fine’ and there was no further action required.
Amaal and Asra were discovered in separate beds of their first-floor Canterbury unit on June 7 after they failed to pay rent for four weeks, and mail was piling up outside their door.
During the initial investigation, police said their bodies had been there for ‘some time’, had no obvious signs of injury, and there were no signs of forced entry.
The siblings allegedly fled Saudi Arabia without their family in 2017 when they were 18 and 19.
They were engaged with a refugee service five years, which helps foreign nationals escaping persecution and seeking asylum.
The sisters were not in regular contact with their relatives back home, sources claimed.
Asra took an AVO against a 28-year-old man in late-2018, but it was later withdrawn and dismissed in January the following year.
In another court matter, the owner of their apartment filed a civil case against Asra on May 13 this year.
Landlords can issue tenants with legal warning notices via the civil court for overdue rent before taking further action to have them removed from the property.
That action was taken four weeks after sheriff’s officers went to the apartment to serve the women with an eviction notice, accompanied by police, when the grisly discovery was made.
It remains unclear what attempts were made by property management to contact Asra during the weeks prior to the sisters remains being found.
Despite their traumatic past, locals said the women were cheerful towards neighbors.
Staff at a nearby service station said the women started visiting in 2020, just before the Covid pandemic, and were regulars until May when they stopped passing by.
They described the pair – one brunette and the other dyed blonde – as ‘quiet’ but ‘very friendly’, and said they would only respond to questions.
One female attendant said the sisters would visit the store to pick up drinks during the day, but only appeared to fill up their black BMW coupe with petrol at night.
‘One girl would come in to buy iced coffee and sometimes V [energy drink]. ‘ Sometimes two or three times a day,’ one female attendant said.
‘I never served her sister but I would see them walking up the street together. When I found out what happened to them, I was very shocked and confused.
‘She was so friendly. Every time she came in and I talked to her she would smile. She never looked sad.’
In 2019, a Four Corners report found around 80 Saudi Arabian women had tried to seek asylum in Australia in recent years. The investigation found the many of them were fleeing Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship laws, which allow their husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles and sons to control their lives.
The sisters’ reasons for leaving their homeland remains unclear.
Records show that two prior welfare checks had ben made on the sisters, one done by police, in the women in the months leading to their discovery.
Police who are still waiting on toxicology reports, confirmed that they attended the unit in mid-March following a phone call from the building manager, who was concerned after some food was left in the building’s common areas.
They said that at that stage “no issues were raised”.
In one of the checks the women, the pair were described as ‘timid’ and refused to let anyone enter the apartment.
But after protests from a concerned party, the sisters eventually allowed the check to occur, but spent it huddled together in the far corner of the unit.
One sat down while the other cowered behind her as they answered simple questions about their wellbeing.
‘They were standoffish and didn’t really want to talk,’ a source said.
‘Something felt off, but they said they were ok. What more could anyone do?’
In a separate incident months earlier, the sisters’ black car, was keyed. That car was towed away from their apartment last week.
Members of the public who may have information that could assist detectives is urged to contact police.