An eerie photograph of the apartment where two young Saudi women’s bodies were found decomposing inside has thrown up a surprise clue in the police inquiry into their death.
The shot, taken by Google Maps in May – after Amaal, 23, and Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, were believed to have died but before their bodies were discovered – reveals the kitchen window of their apartment in Canterbury, in Sydney’s south-west, slightly ajar.
And the fresh air it allowed in could eliminate suspected carbon monoxide poisoning of the pair as a possible cause of their tragic deaths.
But it could also be a clue to when they were still alive, if the window was later found closed when the sisters’ rotting remains were discovered inside the first floor unit in June.
The shot, taken by Google Maps in May after they were believed to have died but before their bodies were discovered, reveals the kitchen window slightly open (top right)
Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, (left) and her older sister Asra, 24, (right) who were found dead in their Canterbury unit on June 7
They are believed to have lain there, in separate bedrooms, for the previous month to six weeks.
There had been speculation a faulty heater could have filled the unit with carbon monoxide and sent the pair into a fatal sleep.
But the new clue comes in a Street View image timestamped by Google as having been taken in May 2022, weeks after they had stopped paying rent.
The picture shows the corner unit in daytime, with the balcony doors leading into the bedrooms and balcony shut, but the kitchen window, round the corner, slightly ajar.
The picture show the first floor corner unit in daytime, with the the balcony doors leading into the bedrooms and balcony shut, but the kitchen window, round the corner, slightly ajar
The sisters are believed to have lain there, together in one of the bedrooms, for up to six weeks and mystery still surrounds the cause of their death
NSW Police refused to comment on the new twist, and added: ‘The investigation is ongoing.’
The revelation has deepened the mystery over the pair’s death, as police await a second toxicology report before the coroner’s investigation can begin.
It’s understood the bodies were too badly decomposed to show any obvious cause of death and the follow up tests were ordered from a specialist toxicology facility ‘for more in depth analysis and testing’, NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia.
It comes two weeks after the bodies of the sisters were quietly been flown home to Saudi Arabia in August.
A previous toxicologist report was believed to be inconclusive.
Detectives have been examining several lines of inquiry, including a potential suicide pact or that they were murdered by an unknown attacker.
The sisters had sought asylum in Australia, worked as traffic controllers and studied at TAFE.
They had expressed concerns about their safety to their building manager prior to their deaths – reporting seeing a man ‘acting weird’ outside.
Police continue to appeal to the public for any information.
2017: Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, are believed to have fled Saudi Arabia.
Upon arrival in Australia, they made contact with a refugee centre.
2019: Asra took an AVO out against a man, but it was later withdrawn.
2020: They frequently visited a service station around their flat, with locals describing them as ‘friendly’.
March, 2022: Police conducted the first of three welfare checks. In one of the checks, the pair were described as ‘timid’ and refused to let anyone enter the apartment.
They eventually allowed officers to enter, but stayed huddled together in the far corner of the unit.
Ten weeks before their deaths, the sisters stopped paying the $480 a week rent for their Canterbury unit.
May, 2022: The owner of their unit filed a civil case against Asra on May 13 over the outstanding rent due of $5,142.86.
Sheriffs officers then went to the apartment to serve the women with an eviction notice.
June 7, 2022: Officers conducting a welfare check made the grisly discovery of the women’s rotting corpses. There was no sign of forced entry.
Police believe the sisters died in May, but have not been able to determine a cause of death.
By Charlotte Karp for Daily Mail Australia
The ‘luxurious’ apartment where two young Saudi sisters lay decomposing for a month is open for inspection with a $40 rent hike – but there’s little the real estate can do to mask the acrid stench of death.
Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, died a month before their bodies were found in separate bedrooms of their Canterbury apartment, in Sydney’s south-west, on June 7.
Two months’ on from the grisly discovery, their deaths remain a mystery.
No one has been arrested and police still aren’t certain how two seemingly healthy young women died in the same place at the same time and lay there, undetected, for a month.
Their remains were only uncovered during a police welfare check – conducted because they owed the landlord about $5,000 worth of unpaid rent, having failed to hand over their weekly $480 since mid-March.
Unable to recoup the hefty financial loss, the owner gave the unit a fresh lick of paint, lay new floorboards, increased the price to $540 per week, and opened it up for public inspection on Saturday morning.
Crime scenes normally cause price reductions, but the real estate agent said most prospective tenants were interested because surrounding units cost about $580 per week.
Before entering the property, prospective tenants received the same verbal disclaimer from the realtor – ‘some people died in there but it’s all been cleaned and it’s all OK’.
‘I just have to tell you that.’
The news didn’t come as a surprise to anyone – most weren’t interested in signing the lease.
Upon entering the unit on the relatively warm winter’s morning, sun beamed through the large balcony doors and bounced off the tiles, white walls and laminated kitchen cabinets – filling the open-plan living space with light.
However, there was a curious smell that became increasingly difficult to ignore.
Overview of apartment where two Saudi sisters mysteriously died
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At first, it was easy enough to brush the smell off as chemical residue left over from the crime scene, or perhaps Pine O Cleen and Windex from the post-investigation cleaning blitz.
It’s understood bottles of chemicals, such as bleach and other substances, were discovered beside their bodies found in separate bedrooms – leading detectives to suspect the pair planned to take their own lives.
Interim toxicology results showed traces of the substances found in the bedrooms also inside the women’s bodies, but the cause of death has still not been confirmed.
But even with fresh air streaming into the unit via the large balcony doors on Saturday morning, the aroma was present – particularly in the two small bedrooms – and it didn’t smell like bleach or cleaning products.
In fact, the acrid smell that had initially been difficult to pinpoint was suddenly, unmistakably, one of death and decay.
According to the online advertisement, the property has ‘spacious balconies’ that allow ‘airflow’
‘Unsettling’ was an understatement and ‘eerie’ wasn’t the right word. It felt like despair.
The front bedroom had its own balcony door overlooking Canterbury Road – a busy thoroughfare where trucks, buses, cars and people stream past at all hours.
Thousands of unassuming people would have passed by between when the Alsehli sisters died in May, and when they were found in June – completely unaware of the heartbreaking situation that lay behind a few inches of plaster.
In the real estate listing, the unit was described as a place that ‘ensures a life of seamless and luxurious comfort’.
In reality, the bedrooms were cramped and awkwardly-shaped – trying to squeeze a double bed in either would be a challenge, though one did have an ensuite and both had built-ins, albeit, small ones.
The kitchen was, indeed, equipped with stainless steel appliances and, as the listing promised, there were ‘reconstituted stone benches, mirrored splashback, and subtle leaf motif details keep the lines clean yet natural for a timeless contemporary look’.
‘Marble-look tiles’ and ‘frameless showers’ could also be seen, though whether they were ‘paired with elegant detailing carrying through the easy, layered mood’ was questionable.
The mood was definitely layered, but perhaps not in the way the owner intended.
While there was a disclaimer on the listing that said the sisters’ deaths was ‘not a random crime and will not be a potential risk for the community’, it’s difficult to imagine living there and sleeping soundly.
Not due to any fear the new occupant would succumb to the same fate, but because it simply felt like tragedy inside.
At the very least, the new tenant would probably suffer headaches from the smell alone – stepping into the fresh air after the viewing was a relief.
The smell will undoubtedly cease to linger as time wears on – at which point, it might even be a nice place to live.