Woman Arrested in South Korea After Bodies of Two Children Found in Suitcases in New Zealand

Papatoetoe Safe Storage Facility
Papatoetoe Safe Storage Facility

A woman has been arrested in South Korea after the remains of two young children were found stuffed in suitcases in New Zealand in what police described as a “very challenging” investigation.

New Zealand Police confirmed the arrest, revealing South Korean authorities arrested the woman on a Korean arrest warrant pursuant to two charges of murder relating to the two young victims.

The arrest warrant was issued by the Korean courts as a result of a request by New Zealand Police for an arrest warrant under the extradition treaty between New Zealand and the South Korea, said Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa’amanuia Vaaelua.

Is This the Mom of the Dead Kids in the Auctioned Suitcases?

The grisly discovery came last month after a family bought the contents of an abandoned storage container and opened the suitcases, which were inside the storage unit, once they arrived home in Manurew, in south Auckland.

In the days after the discovery, initial postmortem examinations of the bodies revealed the remains were that of two primary school-aged children.

“Early indications suggest these children may have been deceased for a number of years before being found last week,” Vaaelua said.

The children, along with the 42-year-old woman, have yet to be publicly identified, but earlier reports indicated a Korean-born New Zealand woman, thought to be the children’s mother, is believed to have traveled to South Korea in 2018, likely around the time of the children’s deaths.

DNA and historic video surveillance were among the investigative tools used to help identify and track down the woman, who police say fits the age of the children’s mother, along with a New Zealand address belonging to her.

Bodies Discovered in Suitcases by New Zealand Family Are Children

The woman was born in South Korea but made the move to New Zealand and became a citizen many years ago, authorities told Reuters. Records of the woman entering South Korea—where she still maintains citizenship—existed but there was no record of her leaving.

New Zealand Police have applied to have her extradited back to New Zealand to face the charges and have requested she remain in custody while awaiting the completion of the extradition process, Vaaelua said in a statement.

“To have someone in custody overseas within such a short period of time has all been down to the assistance of the Korean authorities and the coordination by our NZ Police Interpol staff,” he said.

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