MELBOURNE, Australia – The case is shrouded in mystery.
In June, the bodies of two young Saudi sisters were found in separate rooms of the apartment they shared in Sydney, Australia. The remains remained undiscovered for a month. There were no visible signs of injuries and the house showed no signs of forced entry. Police considered the deaths suspicious.
Nearly two months after the discovery, authorities still know little about the women, even after an extensive investigation in which they spoke to many people in the neighborhood. The women, according to police, “appeared to be reserved.” It is also unclear how they died, although an autopsy was performed.
Frustrated, police took another step this week in hopes of finding new leads: They revealed the identities of women as Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23. The sisters arrived in Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2017, according to the report. police. said.
“We are asking for information because we don’t know much about the girls,” Detective Inspector Claudia Allcroft told a news conference. The case is unusual, she said, because the cause of death remains unknown, and the women “were 23 and 24 years old and died together in their home.”
Speculation has abounded about the sisters’ lives and deaths. Local media posited that women could be seeking asylum in Australia. If so, it would echo a case of two Saudi sisters in New York, whose bodies were found in 2018 on the bank of the Hudson River. Their deaths were ruled suicide; they sought asylum in the United States, police said, and said they would rather kill themselves than return to Saudi Arabia.
In the Australian case, workers at the women’s building said they were reserved and looked nervous and scared, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The women told the building manager that they thought someone was tampering with their food deliveries.
Police declined to answer questions about the sisters’ citizenship or asylum status. Detective Allcroft said there was no information to indicate that the sisters had attempted to flee Saudi Arabia, and that the women’s family in their home country, who are assisting in the investigation, are not under suspicion.
In March, authorities carried out a welfare check on the sisters after the building manager became concerned about them, reporting that their food had been left in the common spaces of the building. At that point, Detective Allcroft said, “they seemed fine and there was no further police action needed at this stage.”
Police were called to the apartment for another welfare check on June 7 and found the sisters’ bodies. That call from the landlord came after the sisters failed to pay their rent, according to local media.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on June 9 and 10, but the coroner did not issue a conclusion, police said. Toxicological results are also pending.