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Three Eritrean women found dead in an apartment in Norway

Nadia Abdulaziz Adem Ali (35), Mebrak Solomon (69) and Leah Rebiba Woldemariam (28) were found dead in an apartment on Romsås on 15 October 2017. PHOTO: MATHIAS OGRE / NRK

Articles below were translated from Norwegian using online software

The three women found dead in an apartment on Romsås lived almost without contact with the outside world, said two of those who were probably the last to have seen the women alive.

By Mathias Ogre, Munevver Yildiz | NRK

"I was broken when I heard what had happened."

Bereken Abraham and Solomon Habtay are clearly marked when they tell of the last time they saw the mother (69) and the two daughters (35 and 28) before they were found dead at Romsås last Thursday.

The mother and the oldest daughter came to Norway as refugees from Eritrea in the 80's, and the youngest daughter was Norwegian-Eritrean. Habtay and Abraham tell that many in the Eritrean community in Oslo wanted to come into contact with the family, who lived an isolated life.

They estimate that it was one evening at the end of June they visited the women in the apartment on Romsås.

"We were lucky. It was very rare someone got into contact with them," said Abraham.

They tell that the visit was pleasantt and that there was little that suggested something was wrong. That same evening they agreed with the youngest daughter to seek out Nav.

"She would like to go to work and that evening she said she would work in kindergarten," says Habtay.

The next day Abraham returned to meet the woman. But when he knocked at the door, he did not get an answer.

"Before I knocked, I heard that someone was in the apartment, but nobody opened. I knocked and shouted, but no one answered," Abraham said.

A week later, Abraham tried to visit the apartment again, but he received no reply then either.

The police can not determine exactly when the three women died but estimate that it occurred in late summer. Abraham and Habtay were probably among the last who saw the women alive.

"It's tragic, it's shocking. We are completely broken, we do not have words," they say.

In shock

The Eritrean community is strongly affected by what has happened. Several NRK has talked with say they are very upset, asking themselves what they could do to help the three women.

"Many have tried, especially the Eritrean community at Romsås have tried to get in touch with them, but it has been difficult," says Abraham.

The community was a long time worried and talked several times together, including in church meetings, about what they could do.

- But they almost never opened the door when I tried to come to visit. I would help, but it was hard to keep in touch, "said Habtay.

Police's three theories

On Tuesday, the police told NRK that they have three theories at this time. They believe that women may have died of poisoning, illness or emaciation.

A preliminary autopsy has been made that has not given the police more answers. The police have not found anything in the apartment on Romsås, which indicates that they have eaten something and got poisoning.

"It seems inexplicable," said Moen.

Solomon Habtay and Bereket Abraham say that the Eritrean community in Oslo is highly affected after three Eritrean women were found dead in an apartment on Romsås on Thursday. PHOTO: MATHIAS OGRE / NRK


The family lived on the seventh floor in a block at Romsås. Here they were found dead on Thursday, October 12, after lying dead for up to several weeks. PHOTO: NADIR ALAM / NRK

Difficult to see that the deaths could have been prevented from the municipality

By Ola Mjaaland, Mathias Ogre  | NRK

"As far as we know, there were no other services in the picture now, and then it is hard to see that this could have been prevented or caught up by the fact that the municipality is different now," says Øystein Eriksen Søreide, Deputy Director, in the district of Grorud.

The family was featured in the media as well integrated in 1988. 30 years later, the family of three died after living in isolation in recent years.

The neighborhood has gone through any contact "lately" and finds nothing beyond the family of three paid rent to the municipality.

There were neighbors who eventually discovered that something had to be wrong, and the police have said they may have been dead since late summer.

"When you live in a municipal housing and do not have other services you can be private. You actually have the right to privacy, and then we do not necessarily capture what relationships are in a family, " says the district director.

- Missing system that catches up

The youngest daughter, Leah Rebiba Woldemariam, was 28 years old. Nadia Abdulaziz Adem Ali was 35 years old, and Mebrak Solomon's mother died 69 years old. They were reminded of the Sofienberg church house on Friday .

"I think it's very sad that in Norway we do not have such a good system that we can catch up with individuals, and after all, this is a whole family as she died," says Hilde Workenesh Heimdal.

FRIEND: Hilde Workenesh Heimdal knew her mother a few years ago, but lost contact. PHOTO: NRK

She knew her mother, but, like many others, she eventually lost contact with them.

"Safe and good life"

The Eritrean family came to Norway as refugees from Italy in 1988. They settled in Arup's city center in Oslo and 40-year-old Mebrak got close contact with their neighbors.

The 40-year-old Mebrak Solomon receives support from neighbors in Dagbladet on Friday, September 9, 1988.

She taught them, among other things, to cook Italian food, and the neighbors struck the family when there was doubt that they could stay in Norway.

Dagbladet wrote in September 1988, that they had "managed to build a safe and good life in the country" over a year. But the little family moved to Romsås when Rebiba was born in 1989 and friends tell NRK that they lost contact with them.

Rebiba eventually began nursing education but should have finished there after two years.


"She was a very gentle girl. But it was not easy to get in touch with them. She was a very nice girl and I heard that she was good at school and had good marks. So I know that she had wanted to become a nurse, "said neighbor Astrid Jorunn Fjellbu Stubberud, who lived under the family at three.

Her eight-year-old sister Nadia is described by girlfriends as fun and creative.

But friends also say that the family isolated and lost more and more contact with society. The youngest daughter started nursing education, but quit. In recent years, people did not get in touch with them on the phone and when they knocked on the door.


The police can not determine exactly when the three women died, but estimates that it occurred in late summer.

On Tuesday, the police told the NRK that they have three theories about the cause of death: they believe women may have died of poisoning, disease or emaciation. The police do not suspect that there is something criminal behind the deaths.

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