Mom Accused in Deaths of Kids Found in Suitcases Extradited

Unnamed woman taken from South Korea to New Zealand
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2022 2:50 PM CDT
Updated Nov 29, 2022 12:51 AM CST
Suitcases Holding Dead Kids Sat in Storage Unit for Years
New Zealand police investigators work at a scene in Auckland on Aug. 11, 2022, after bodies were discovered in suitcases.   (Dean Purcell/New Zealand Herald via AP)
UPDATE Nov 29, 2022 12:51 AM CST

The 42-year-old woman accused of murdering her children and hiding their remains inside suitcases that were later purchased at auction has been extradited from South Korea to New Zealand. The unnamed woman arrived in Auckland Tuesday, will spend the night in jail, and will appear in court Wednesday to face two murder charges, the AP reports. Earlier this month, NewsHub spoke to former neighbors of the woman and her late husband, who died of throat cancer shortly before their children are believed to have been killed. "Quite happy kids, just normal little kids having fun playing out the front there," says one. "Quite a shock, you know, you just would not think something like that would happen."

Oct 5, 2022 2:50 PM CDT

In August, a New Zealand family discovered the remains of two long-dead children inside suitcases purchased in a storage unit auction. Now, it's becoming clear how the bodies of the boy and girl, thought to have been dead for three to four years, were concealed for so long. Stuff reports it has learned that employees at the SafeStore Papatoetoe facility in Auckland moved the suitcases from one storage unit to another a year before the unwitting family purchased them. According to the report, there were dead flies and rats inside the unit as employees entered it in the later half of 2021, but no smell or other clue that would point to the hidden horror.

A "wicked smell" was unleashed, however, when the family opened the luggage at their home in a South Auckland suburb on Aug. 11, per Stuff. A neighbor and former crematorium worker who detected the odor from a distance said he "knew straight away" what it meant, per Stuff. "And I thought, 'Where is that coming from?'" Detectives believe the bodies had been in the storage facility for three to four years before they were discovered, per the New Zealand Herald. The 42-year-old mother of the children was arrested last month in Ulsan, South Korea. She's accused "of having murdered two of her children, aged 7 and 10 then, in around 2018 in the Auckland area," according to Seoul's National Police Agency.

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The unidentified woman is from Seoul, as was her husband, who died of cancer in late 2017, per 7News. The couple had married in New Zealand before welcoming a girl in 2009, followed by a boy in 2012, per the outlet. Some time after her husband's death, the woman reportedly returned alone to South Korea. "She's been found to have arrived in South Korea after the [alleged murders] and has been in hiding ever since," according to the National Police Agency. As she was taken by police to Seoul, the woman covered her face with a jacket and repeatedly told reporters, "I didn't do it." She now faces an extradition hearing. (Read more murder stories.)

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