Suitcases believed to have been in storage ‘for a number of years’, detective says
Human remains found in auctioned suitcases in New Zealand are those of two children, police have revealed.
The gruesome discovery was made by a family in Auckland who purchased a storage container at an online auction with the suitcases inside.
Upon examining their purchases at home, they found the remains and contacted police, who launched a homicide investigation last Friday.
At a press conference on Thursday, inspectors said a postmortem suggested the remains belonged to two children between the ages of five and 10.
“The bodies were concealed in two suitcases of similar size,” said Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua, adding: “I believe the suitcases have been in storage for a number of years.”
Police are trying to establish where and when they died, but the suitcases are likely to have been in storage for three to four years, Det Insp Vaaelua said.
Inspectors are making “very good progress” with DNA inquiries despite the challenge posed by the length of time the children have been deceased,” he was reported as saying.
Relatives of the victims were in New Zealand but police are also working with Interpol, he said, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The family who purchased the suitcases are not linked to the deaths, are “understandably distressed” by their discovery, and have requested privacy, DI Vaaelua said.
One neighbour told the Herald that there was also “kids stuff” such as prams and toys within the container.
Police were using personal items found with the suitcases to assist with identifying the victims, DI Vaaelua said, adding that he could not comment on the children’s gender or whether they were related, news website Stuff reported.
A former crematorium worker who lives in the neighbourhood previously told the website that he noticed a “wicked” and “rotten” smell in the area and that he “knew straight away” what it was.
DI Vaaelua told reporters at the Manukau Police Station on Thursday: “A lot of us are parents and we have a job to do and we’re doing our very best to conclude the inquiry and identify the victims.
“No matter how long or how many years you serve and investigate horrific cases like this, it is never any easier to do.”