Children Found In Suitcases Bought At Auction Have Been Identified
A general view shows the Counties Manukau police station that is leading an investigation after human remains were found in suitcases bought at an auction, in Auckland on August 19, 2022.
DAVID ROWLAND/AFP via Getty Images

Two children whose remains were found in suitcases bought at a storage auction have been identified by New Zealand officials.

While New Zealand police have identified the children, their names will not be released at the request of their family, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua, the district crime manager for Manukau Counties, said in a statement released Friday. Vaaelua said the coroner had issued an interim non-publication order, which suppresses the children’s names as well as those of their relatives.

“Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the children. Further updates will be provided as the Police investigation allows,” Vaaelua said in the statement.

The bodies were found earlier this month after a family purchased a trailer full of items at a storage auction, including the two suitcases. The BBC reported at the time that the children had likely been dead for years. The outlet added that the children were between 5 and 10 years old when they died.

“The nature of this discovery provides some complexities to the investigation,” Vaaelua said in a press release on August 18.

Authorities used personal and household items that were found along with the suitcases to identify the children, as well as watching surveillance footage from the storage facility. Police fear, however, that they might not be able to find anything on the footage because of how much time has passed since the children died.

Vaaelua also insisted that the family that bought the suitcases at auction had no connection to the deaths and were distraught over the discovery.

“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,” Vaaelua said in the press release. “[W]e are continuing to treat this matter very seriously and we are determined to hold the person, or persons, responsible for the deaths of these children to account.”

“Police can confirm the discovery of these children’s remains occurred after the residents of the Moncrieff Avenue property brought unowned property back to their address from a storage facility,” he added.

At a news conference, Vaaelua offered sympathy for the family of the victims.

“I really feel for the victims or the family of these victims. And, you know right here, right now, there are relatives out there that aren’t aware that their loved ones have deceased,” he said, according to CNN.

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