A family in South Auckland, New Zealand, received the grimmest surprise of their lives when they opened two suitcases they had bought at an auctions last week to discover the bodies of two young children.
The family had bought the suitcases at a storage auction that included a trailer full of items, and the BBC reported 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 especially given the time lapsed between the time of death and the time of discovery,” Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said in a press release on Thursday.
Authorities are using 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.
The BBC reported that New Zealand police are also working with Interpol, the international police agency, even though they believe the children are related to persons living in New Zealand.
“This is no easy investigation,” Vaaelua told the BBC. “What I can say is we are making very good progress with DNA inquiries.”
Vaaleua 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, Vaaleua 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.