Dead children in suitcases: authorities search for mother in South Korea

Dead children in suitcases
Authorities are looking for a mother in South Korea

After an auction, a New Zealand family finds human body parts in the purchased suitcases, which apparently come from two children. The investigation leads the police to South Korea, where they also suspect the mother of the children.

South Korean police have said they have identified the mother of the children found dead in a suitcase. The case has occupied the authorities in New Zealand for more than two weeks. On August 11, a family bought a trailer load of household goods at an online auction. Two suitcases were among the items that came from a warehouse and whose owners could no longer be traced. The father of the family discovered human body parts in them.

Since then, the local authorities have already gained some insights. First, Detective Inspector Tofilau Famanuia Vaaelua told the dead were children. Their exact ages have yet to be determined, but it is believed they were between five and 10 years old, the investigator said. In an initial statement, Vaaelua also said it’s possible their families didn’t know the children were dead.

The two children are believed to have died “several years” ago. The two suitcases are believed to have been kept in a cupboard at Safe Store Papatoetoe for three to four years. Vaaelua did not comment at this time on whether the children were related or what gender they were. The coroner also kept a low profile regarding the cause of death, referring to the pending autopsy results.

Track to South Korea

They then revealed that the children were of Asian origin. It later becomes clear that the investigations concentrate on connections to South Korea. In preliminary, cautious assessments, investigators announce that they have been able to locate relatives of the children.

It is now clear that the authorities believe they have identified the children’s mother. This was confirmed by a South Korean police officer to the American television company CNN. The wanted woman is therefore a New Zealander who previously held South Korean citizenship. She had lived in New Zealand for years at an address related to the case. Considering her age, it is suspected that she could be the mother.

The woman is said to have entered South Korea in 2018. However, there are no documents to prove she left the country again, it said. However, the officer did not provide the woman’s name or other identifying information. He also left open whether she was born in South Korea. Her current whereabouts are unclear.

No missing person?

The case of the two dead children is now also the concern of the international police agency Interpol. If the woman is clearly identified as a suspect and there is an arrest warrant, extradition proceedings should be sought against the woman. But now that she is no longer a South Korean citizen, authorities there need a New Zealand court order to determine the woman’s exact whereabouts.

Additional questions are still open. It is not yet clear, among other things, whether the children had attended school or other care facilities in New Zealand before their deaths. Then her disappearance should have been noticed. It is also not yet known whether there were other family members who lived with the mother and children permanently or part of the time.

The Korean community in New Zealand was shocked by the revelations so far. Diane Lee, co-president of the Korea-NZ Cultural Association, said in a statement that everyone in the Korean community is saddened and praying for the “innocent children”. None were known to the family in question.

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