Human remains found in suitcases sold at New Zealand auction

Police do not believe family who bought the cases were involved in the suspected homicide

A New Zealand family bought the suitcases when the contents of a storage locker were being auctioned off. EPA
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New Zealand police have begun a homicide investigation after human remains were found stashed in suitcases that were bought at an auction in the country's largest city, Auckland.

The undisclosed remains are believed to have been stored in suitcases auctioned as part of a storage unit sale, and taken home by an unsuspecting family after their winning bid.

Residents at a home in South Auckland called police last Thursday after making the grisly discovery, police official Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said.

Police do not believe the family were involved in the suspected homicide.

"The priority for police is to confirm the identification of the deceased so that we can establish the full circumstances behind the discovery," Mr Vaaelua said.

A post-mortem examination was under way and forensic investigators were trying to determine the number of victims, police said.

The auctioning of abandoned contents is a common practice for storage units with unpaid bills.

The owner of a storage unit in Papatoetoe, South Auckland, told news website Stuff that the business is co-operating with police in relation to the investigation.

Media outlet Newshub reported that police could be dealing with remains from several bodies.

"I feel sorry for the family because they've got nothing to do with it. And whoever did do it, come on, front up. It's a bit unfair, bro," a neighbour of the family, Shelton Honana, told Newshub.

Other neighbours told the New Zealand Herald that they could smell the trailer the family brought back from the auction.

Mr Vaaelua said that police believe "there is no immediate risk to the public in regards to this incident".

Updated: August 16, 2022, 3:19 PM