Saturday 10 December 2022
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CrimeNew Zealand: Remains of 2 children found in suitcases bought at auction

New Zealand: Remains of 2 children found in suitcases bought at auction

Human remains, skeletons of children to be specific, were discovered in suitcases that a family had bought at an auction last week. in New Zealand announced today that the locals had alerted the cops to the case last week when the family from the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa reported finding human body parts in several items they bought from a storage facility.

"Initial post-mortem examinations have been carried out and the results show that the remains found in two suitcases are that of two primary school-aged children," according to a statement released early Thursday from spokesperson Anna Thompson.

In a news conference the previous day, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said the children probably were ages 5 to 10 and may have been dead for a number of years.

Once the children are formally identified, authorities said, their top priority will be to notify the next of kin. "We want to reassure the community our investigation is continuing to establish the facts to ascertain the full circumstances around the deaths of these children," the statement said. "This includes establishing when, where, and how."

said they were working with Interpol and have opened inquiries with overseas agencies, but initial inquiries suggested that some relatives of the victims are in New Zealand.

The family that found the remains has nothing to do with the deaths, said, adding they were "understandably distressed".

The detective said the children had relatives living in New Zealand. "[Yesterday's] update will be extremely upsetting news for the community to hear," Vaaelua said at the Counties Manukau station.

"Early indications suggest these children may have been deceased for a number of years before being found last week."

Vaaelua went on to confirm that the bodies of the children had likely been stored in the Papatoetoe Safe Store storage facility for three to four years before being discovered. He said New Zealand were also working with the international law enforcement agency Interpol as part of the investigation. "We have commenced inquiries with overseas agencies. I cannot state any further than that," Vaaelua said.

Scene examinations of both the Moncrieff Ave property where the remains were discovered and the Papatoetoe Safe Store facility have also been completed.

Throughout the press conference, Vaaelua was hesitant to reveal too many details about what knew of the renters or owners of the storage unit over concerns it may compromise the investigation. He said police could not yet confirm the genders of the two children.

Earlier this week, a neighbour on the scene at the time of the discovery told the Herald there was "kids stuff in the back of the trailer: prams, toys, walker" that transported the suitcases.

According to police, people living at the Moncrieff Ave house brought "unowned property to their address" last Thursday. "We reiterate that the occupants of the Moncrieff Avenue property are not connected to their deaths," Vaaelua had said yesterday. "They are understandably distressed by the discovery, and they have asked for privacy. We are ensuring there is support in place for them."

were following "positive lines of inquiry" in terms of the storage unit rental, Vaaelua said, but the formal identification procedures of the remains were "still ongoing" and they were not able to comment on the identities of the children.

Once this is complete, priority will be to notify the children's next of kin.

"What I can say is we are making very good progress with DNA inquiries," Vaaelua said.

"We want to reassure the community our investigation is continuing to establish the facts to ascertain the full circumstances around the deaths of these children.

"This includes establishing when, where, and how. The nature of this discovery provides some complexities to the investigation."

Vaaelua said the investigation had been difficult for Counties Manukau officers and detectives but they had a duty to the relatives of the children who were still unaware of the devastating situation.

"I really feel for the families of these victims and right here right now there are relatives that aren't aware that their loved ones have deceased," Vaaelua said.

"As for the investigation team, there are a number of them that are parents. This is no easy investigation and no matter how long or how many years you serve and investigate horrific cases like this it's never an easy task. I myself am a parent of young kids but we have a job to do."

A neighbour had said earlier this week that the Moncrieff Ave family found the remains in suitcases while they were unpacking and sorting through a trailer-load of the property on their front yard and driveway.

A man at the property on 16 August in the morning said he was looking after the house for his immediate family who had allegedly left Auckland after making the find.

"We're doing all right. As long as everyone leaves us alone we'll be all right," the family member said. "They've gone away [the family who discovered the remains]. I wasn't here."

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