Possible link between South Korea and the New Zealand mystery of the “children in the suitcase” | New Zealand
A woman believed to be a relative of the two children whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand is in South Korea, according to Seoul police.
The woman, a New Zealander of Korean descent, arrived in South Korea in 2018 and had no record of leaving since then, a police officer told Reuters on Monday.
It was not immediately known where she was and whether she had other relatives with her when she arrived in South Korea.
“New Zealand Police had sought confirmation whether the person who may be linked to a crime case was in South Korea,” the police officer said, adding that given his former address and age, she could be the children’s mother.
The NZ Herald also reported that a source said a relative of the children was in South Korea.
KBS, a South Korean national broadcaster, reported on Monday that Interpol had asked South Korean police to trace the location of a woman.
The report cited the National Police Agency as having confirmed that she had entered South Korea and that there was no record of her leaving the country.
A police source told the broadcaster that local forces could not try to locate the woman unless a warrant for her arrest was issued.
Also on Monday, the Hankyoreh, a daily, quoted a source from the police’s international affairs department as saying police could detain the woman if Interpol issues a red notice.
New Zealand police did not confirm whether they had approached Seoul police and declined to comment further on Monday, but previously confirmed they were working with Interpol.
New Zealand Police launched a homicide investigation in Auckland last week after the children’s remains were found by a family searching the contents of a storage locker they had purchased without seeing it during a an online auction.
Police have repeatedly said the family who discovered the bodies were not linked to the deaths.
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, DI Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said an autopsy indicated the children were of primary school age – between five and 10 years old.
“The bodies were concealed in two suitcases of similar size…I think the suitcases have been in storage for several years,” he said, adding that it was probably between three and four years.
The occupants of the house who discovered the remains were “understandably distressed by the discovery” and had requested privacy, Vaaelua said.