The August 11 discovery quickly sparked an investigation. A week later, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua of the New Zealand Police announced that the remains belonged to two children. They are believed to be between 5 and 10 years old, based on post-mortem examination.
“These children may have been deceased for several years before they were found last week. We also believe that the bags have been in storage for several years,” Vaaelua said in a statement. Press conference Thursday.
The discovery has stumped authorities. and the public. Countless questions remain, chiefly, who are the children and how did their bodies end up in a suburban storage unit?
Foul play is suspected, Vaaelua said.
“We are determined to hold the person or persons responsible for the deaths of these children accountable,” he said, adding that the family members who made the discovery are not suspects.
Police are still working to identify the children and hope to notify their relatives, who may not be aware of their deaths, Vaaelua said. The bags, she said, had been in the storage center for three or four years before they were purchased. for the unsuspecting family.
The family got hold of the bags through a “Storage Wars”-auction type. Event participants buy the contents of a storage locker without knowing what’s inside. In this case, the family received a large number of items from a unit at the Safe Store facility in Papatoetoe.
Safe Store did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. However, the director of the company told a local media Stuff that the company is cooperating with the police.
At Thursday’s news conference, Vaaelua said he could not confirm whether police had spoken to the storage unit’s previous owner. He said New Zealand’s national police department is working with overseas agencies and Interpol, an international network of police forces in 195 countries.
“This is not an easy investigation,” Vaaelua added. “And no matter how long or how many years you investigate horrible cases like this, it’s never an easy task.”
Residents of New Zealand’s northernmost island, known in English as North Island and in Maori as Te Ika-a-Maui, were shocked by the grim discovery. Residents of Clendon Park, an area of about 9,000 people, told the Herald of New Zealand they saw the family who bought the bags unloading strollers, walkers and toys.
Shortly afterward, a “disgusting odor” began to emanate from her home, another neighbor told Stuff. The man told the outlet that he used to work in a crematorium and knew what bodies smelled like.
“I knew right away [what it was] and I thought, ‘Where does that come from?’ ” he said.