The suitcase was purchased by a family in South Auckland, New Zealand, with the grisly contents only unearthed after they opened it in their home in Manurewa on 11 August.
Police launched a homicide investigation and last Thursday (18 August) they announced that post-mortem results showed the human remains belonged to two primary school-aged children, who had been dead for a number of years.
New Zealand news outlet Stuff has reported that the victims are believed to be a girl and a boy, born in Auckland in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
The news website added that the parents – from Seoul, South Korea – married in New Zealand, but the dad died of cancer in late 2017.
South Korean authorities confirmed they’d been asked to help locate a woman – thought to be the children’s mother – who entered the country in the second half of 2018, with no records of her leaving since.
Counties Manukau District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua, said confirmation of the identity of the bodies would be ‘extremely upsetting news for the community to hear’.
In a statement issued last Thursday, he said: “Initial post-mortem examinations have been carried out and the results show that the remains found in two suitcases are that of two primary school-aged children.
“Early indications suggest these children may have been deceased for a number of years before being found last week.
“Formal identification procedures are still ongoing, which means Police are not yet able to comment on the identities of the children. Once this is completed our priority is to contact the next of kin.”
He continued: “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. The nature of this discovery provides some complexities to the investigation.
“However, we 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. Scene examinations have also been completed at both locations.
“We reiterate that the occupants of the Moncrieff Avenue property are not connected to their deaths.
“They are understandably distressed by the discovery, and they have asked for privacy. We are ensuring there is support in place for them.”