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South Korean Woman Charged In Murder Of Two Children Whose Bodies Were Found In Suitcases In New Zealand
A woman extradited from South Korea made her first court appearance in New Zealand Wednesday after the bodies of her two children were found in abandoned suitcases.
The 42-year-old woman, whose name hasn't been disclosed by authorities, was extradited to New Zealand from South Korea as part of the homicide investigation, and charged with two counts of murder. She was not required to enter a plea during the procedural hearing on Wednesday.
She denied the murder allegations, telling reporters at the time of her arrest, "I did not do it," as she was led into a police car following her September arrest, according to the BBC.
The judge imposed a temporary order to keep details of the case secret, including the names of the woman and the victims. However, the judge allowed it to be reported that the suspect was the children's mother, according to The New Zealand Herald.
New Zealand Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa’amanuia Vaaelua said the bodies of two children between the ages of 5 and 10 were discovered in suitcases on Aug. 11 at an address in Manurewa.
The remains were discovered by a family who purchased the contents of an abandoned storage locker in South Auckland through an online auction.
Police said the family was “understandably distressed” and is not connected to the deaths of the children.
“Early indications suggest these children may have been deceased for a number of years before being found,” Vaaelua told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We also believe the suitcases have been in storage for a number of years.”
South Korean police say the suspect was born in South Korea and later moved to New Zealand, where she gained citizenship. Immigration records show she returned to South Korea in 2018, according to the Associated Press. South Korea’s Justice Ministry said it also provided New Zealand with unspecified “important evidence” in the case.
South Korean police told the Associated Press it was suspected the woman could be the mother of the two victims, as her past address in New Zealand was registered to the storage unit where the suitcases were kept.
It's believed that the children's father died of cancer prior to their deaths, according to The Independent.
The woman will remain in jail until her next court appearance on Dec.14.