While little is known about Saudi Arabian-born sisters Asra and Amaal Alsehli, the couple was “afraid of something”.
Their tragic deaths remain shrouded in mystery as there are more questions than answers.
But as bizarre twists and turns develop, it becomes increasingly clear that the two young women were concerned.
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If someone knocked on the door of their Canterbury unit in inland Sydney, the sisters were reportedly reluctant to answer, instead staying “hidden in the corner like two little sparrows,” according to one person trying to help out.
From their nervousness about visitors to a tradesman’s “uncomfortable” feeling while working in the unit, there were signs that something was wrong.
Here are eight of the strangest twists and turns in the case yet.
Crucifixes found inside
Two crucifixes were found in the Sydney unit after the sisters’ bodies were removed, an employee with access to the apartment claims.
The employee said the religious symbols were discovered on the floor of one of the bedrooms, the ABC reports.
7NEWS.com.au was unable to independently verify the claim, with NSW police unable to comment.
The couple has also been reported to have renounced Islam and changed their names after arriving in Australia.
It’s not clear whether the crosses were a sign that the couple had converted to Christianity or whether they belonged to the women at all.
Their car was keyed in
Those who knew the sisters say they seemed to live in fear and were “very much afraid of something.”
Apartment building manager Michael Baird, of Transparent FM, said his first interaction with the women was when their car was keyed in earlier this year.
“We didn’t think it was a personal attack on them because they parked their car in an unusual place. And someone obviously took offense,” Baird told ABC.
He said he knew the sisters were concerned for their safety.
“I think the girls were really scared,” Baird said.
“And we’re not sure if it was something or someone. They didn’t tell us.”
a strange man
The women claimed that a suspicious man had been lurking outside their unit in the months before their deaths.
“They reported seeing a man outside the building acting ‘weird’ – standing between two cars and acting strangely,” an employee of the building management company told The Daily Mail.
“We checked the CCTV footage and saw that there was a man there.
“But that place is busy. There’s a burger shop there and Uber Eats drivers come and go all the time. He could have been anyone.
“We couldn’t figure out why he was there, but he didn’t look like he was doing anything unkind, so there was no need to investigate further.”
The sisters also had concerns that someone was tampering with their food supplies and contacted building management in January, but surveillance cameras again found no evidence.
The bad vibe of the plumber
The grisly reports continue and a plumber who visited the apartment also expressed concern for the sisters.
“When (he) got out of that unit, he said he was concerned that something unusual was going on in the apartment. He got a really bad vibe,” Baird told ABC.
“He was pretty upset. He said, ‘I’m never coming back to that apartment’.”
Baird asked the local site manager to contact the police, adding that he understood the women then told the officers they were okay.
“The girls wouldn’t open the door; they didn’t want to participate in any conversation,” another contributor told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘The police said, ‘We are concerned. Can we help you?’ They said no.
“I glanced at those girls and thought, ‘You’re hiding something.’ These girls were very secretive. They kept a very low profile.”
A mysteriously dropped AVO
The eldest sister Asra had applied for an arrest warrant against a man in 2019, but that was withdrawn and rejected.
The man at the center of the AVO told The Daily Telegraph that he had a “minor fight” with the sister, which scared her and contacted police to take out an AVO.
“We went to court, the three of us and I told the judge what had happened. Amaal explained that it was just an argument and Asra was scared, but there was no problem anymore,” he said.
He said he was not in a romantic relationship with Asra and had not had any contact with the sisters for about two years, and was “shocked” to learn of their mysterious deaths.
Family photo intervention
At a press conference last week, Burwood Inspector Claudia Allcroft said police were in contact with the women’s families, who were cooperating with authorities.
She said there was “nothing to indicate” that the family were suspects, nor that the women had fled Saudi Arabia.
But it has since been revealed that the sisters were asylum seekers who each had active asylum applications with the Home Office and had been in contact with service providers in Sydney.
In another bizarre twist, the sisters’ family did not want the police to release images as part of their call for information.
Police contacted relatives in Saudi Arabia to ask for permission to release images of the sisters, but they declined, according to The Telegraph.
However, a coroner who examined the dead rejected the decision.
Cloaked in secrets
When the sisters arrived in Australia in 2017, they lived in Sydney’s western suburbs for about 18 months while attending the local TAFE.
Rita was their neighbor and shared an insight about the sisters.
“(Amaal and Asra) were just really good people. They haven’t done anything harmful,” Rita told ABC.
“They moved to this house because it was closer to their TAFE. And they usually stayed up all night and only slept in the morning.”
A man who developed a friendship with Asra admitted that he knew very little about the woman he “met on the street” in 2019, despite them hanging out together.
“She didn’t tell me about her life like that… I didn’t go to her house, I met her outside, you know, not in the house,” the man told The Telegraph.
By 2020, the sisters decided to move and moved into their apartment in Canterbury.
The neighbors at the sisters’ Canterbury address also knew very little about the couple, telling 7NEWS they were keeping it to themselves.
A neighbor said they were “a little scared” because they didn’t know what was happening to the couple so close to their own home, despite not knowing the women well.
“Every time I walk by here it’s always on, it’s always going to be on my head,” said another
Police said the couple had been living a quiet life since their arrival in the country and did not have many known connections in Sydney.
The women do not appear to be part of Saudi dissident networks and had almost no online presence or public photos.
They have stopped paying rent
As the tragic story deepens, it is also reported that an eviction notice was issued weeks before the sisters’ bodies were discovered in June.
Rental agent Jay Hu said the women have been good tenants since they started the lease two years ago, but something changed earlier this year.
“They stopped paying rent, so my colleague contacted them… they said the money would come soon,” Hu told The Telegraph.
“But it still didn’t come … a few more weeks went by and still not paid.”
Hu said the sisters had received a message to leave the unit around May.
Burwood detectives set up Strike Force Wooldbird to investigate the women’s deaths.
“While the investigation is ongoing, police continue to rely on information related to the deaths of the two women,” the NSW Police Department told 7NEWS.com.au on Tuesday.
Anyone with information is requested to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.