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Suitcase murder-suspect due before NZ court

  • Published
    14 hours ago

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A woman suspected of murdering two children whose bodies were discovered in a suitcase is due to appear in a New Zealand court on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old was arrested in South Korea in September, and has now been handed over to authorities in Auckland.

The victims are thought to have been between five and 10 when they died.

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Their bodies had likely been stored for several years when they were found by a family who bought the suitcase at an auction in New Zealand in August.

The arrest in the South Korean port city of Ulsan came after Interpol issued a red notice for the woman. At the time, she denied the murder allegations, telling reporters “I did not do it” as she was led into a police car.

Three officers travelled to South Korea to transport the woman from custody back to Manukau, in South Auckland, where she is now facing two murder charges, New Zealand police said in a statement.

South Korea’s justice ministry also said their officers had secured “key evidence”, and have passed it on to authorities in Auckland.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said an extradition agreement between the countries ensured “our justice system can operate” in “a tragic set of circumstances”.

The unsuspecting south Auckland family who discovered the bodies bought a trailer-load of items, including the suitcases, at an auction for abandoned goods in August. The family had no connection the incident, police say, and are being offered support for emotional distress.

Authorities have said they will not be identifying the victims while an investigation is ongoing, which Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said would be complex given “the time lapsed between the time of death and the time of discovery”.

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

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