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, adding: “We are doing our very best to conclude the inquiry and figure out what happened to these young children. This is no easy investigation.”
Relatives of the victims were in New Zealand but police are also working with Interpol, the New Zealand Herald reported him as saying.
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.
A former crematorium worker who lives in the neighbourhood told news website Stuff that he noticed a “wicked” and “rotten” smell in the area and that he “knew straight away” what it was.