Police locate relative of children found dead in suitcases in New Zealand

Remains of the two children, aged between 5 and 10, were found last week

The remains of the two children were discovered by a family in Auckland, New Zealand. Reuters
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A woman believed to be related to two children whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand is in South Korea, police in Seoul said on Monday.

Last week, police in New Zealand said they discovered the remains of two children in suitcases. They are thought to have been aged between 5 and 10 when they died.

The remains were discovered after a family bought a large quantity of items, including the suitcases, at an auction for abandoned goods.

New Zealand police have said the remains were likely to have been in storage for several years, which has complicated the investigation.

Police said on Monday they identified a woman of South Korean descent who is believed to be related to the children.

Police investigators in Auckland on August 11 after the remains were discovered in suitcases bought at an auction. AP

“We confirm that she is in South Korea and that she is a New Zealand national of Korean descent,” an official at South Korea's National Police Agency said.

She arrived in South Korea in 2018 and there is no record of her leaving the country since then, the official said.

“New Zealand police are leading this investigation and we intend to co-operate at their request.”

Key moments lost to investigation

Police have studied hours of CCTV footage, but important moments could have already been erased owing to the delay between when the victims died and the discovery of the remains.

Both the storage unit and property where the suitcases were taken have been thoroughly examined by experts.

The authorities in New Zealand said last week that the family who found the bodies were not connected to the deaths.

They have received support to help them deal with the trauma, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said at the time.

Updated: August 22, 2022, 3:09 PM