The human remains of two young children have been found in two abandoned suitcases that were bought at an auction in New Zealand, police have confirmed.
Detective Inspector told reporters on Thursday that the children were 5 to 10 years old when they died and had most likely been deceased for several years.
Police opened a homicide investigation on Aug. 11 after a family in Manurewa, South Auckland, bought the suitcases in an online auction of abandoned goods left at a storage facility.
The family discovered the remains when they opened the suitcases after taking them home. Police say the family is not connected to the deaths.
According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, a neighbor of the family who was there when the auctioned items were unloaded from a trailer said that there were also toys, prams and a walker.
Faamanuia could not confirm if police had spoken to the previous owner of the storage unit, but said police were working with Interpol and overseas agencies.
The family that made the shocking discovery has not been identified and has asked for privacy, police said.
“We’re doing all right. As long as everyone leaves us alone, we’ll be all right,” said a relative of the family who spoke to the New Zealand Herald. The family that found the remains of the children has now reportedly left Auckland, he added.
The identification procedure was still ongoing, Faamanuia said, "which means that police are not yet able to comment on the identities of the children."
"Once this is completed, our priorities is to contact the next of kin,” he said.
The time lapse between the time of death and the discovery of the bodies adds to the "complexities of the investigation," Faamanuia said.
"However, the investigation team is working very hard to hold accountable the person or persons responsible for the deaths of these children," he added.