A New Zealand family who bought abandoned goods from a storage unit returned home with their purchases to discover the bodies of two children hidden in two suitcases, police said.
The children were between five and 10 years old, had been dead for several years and the suitcases had been in storage for at least three or four years, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said.
He said the investigation was in its early stages but would be rigorous.
“That includes establishing where, when and how,” Mr Vaaelua told reporters in Auckland.
The family had bought the personal and household items at an online auction and brought them home last week.
Mr Vaaelua stressed that they had nothing to do with the deaths and were understandably upset by their discovery.
Police first set up a crime scene at the Auckland home last week and opened a homicide investigation, but had refused to go into details of the case until Thursday.
Mr Vaaelua said procedures to identify the children were ongoing but they had parents living in New Zealand.
He also said police had contacted Interpol and law enforcement agencies overseas – a possible indication that police might believe the suspect or suspects are now living overseas.
“The investigation team is working very hard to hold accountable the person or persons responsible for the deaths of these children,” Vaaelua said.
He said it was a difficult case for the investigation team.
“No matter how many years you serve and investigate horrific cases like this, it’s never an easy task,” he said.
“I myself am a parent of young children. But we have a job to do.