WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A New Zealand family who had bought abandoned goods from a storage unit came home with their purchases to discover the bodies of two children hidden in two suitcases, police said Thursday.
The children were between 5 and 10 years old, had been dead for several years and the cases had been in storage for at least three or four years, said Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua.
He said the investigation is at an early stage but will be rigorous. “This includes determining where, when and how,” Vaaelua told reporters in Auckland.
The family bought the personal and household items at an online auction and lugged them home last week. Vaaelua stressed that they had nothing to do with the deaths and were understandably concerned by their discovery.
Police established a crime scene at the Auckland home for the first time last week and launched a murder investigation, but had declined to provide details of the case until Thursday.
Vaaelua said identification procedures for the children are ongoing but they have relatives living in New Zealand.
He also said police have contacted Interpol and foreign police agencies – a possible indication that police may believe the suspect or suspects are now living abroad.
“The investigation team is working very hard to bring accountability to the person or persons responsible for the deaths of these children,” Vaaelua said.
He said it was a difficult case for the investigative team.
“No matter how many years you serve, investigating horrific cases like this is never an easy task,” he said. “I am a parent of young children myself. But we have a job to do.”