WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: New details have been revealed about the young children whose remains were found inside suitcases in an abandoned storage unit in New Zealand last week.
While police have confirmed the children, believed to be aged between 5 and 10, had relatives living in the country, sources have since told the NZ Herald that their family are in Asia.
On Thursday, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said police had contacted Interpol and overseas policing agencies as part of the homicide investigation — a possible indication they might believe the suspect or suspects are now living abroad.
“The investigation team is working very hard to hold accountable the person or persons responsible for the deaths of these children,” he said during a press conference.
Det Insp Vaaelua said police know the identify of the people who were renting the storage unit before its unwanted contents were purchased by a family in an online auction and brought to their Manurewa home last week.
However, he declined to comment when asked if those who had hired the space were now abroad.
Det Insp Vaaelua said the investigation is in its early stages but will be rigorous.
Family who found remains leave Auckland
The Manurewa residents who made the grim discovery while sorting through the storage unit's contents in their front yard have since left Auckland, a family member told the NZ Herald.
The family were “understandably distressed” by the discovery and are not responsible for the deaths of the children, Det Insp Vaaelua said.
The relative told the publication he was looking after the home for his immediate family members who have since “gone away”.
“We're doing all right. As long as everyone leaves us alone we'll be all right,” they said.
Neighbours told local media they saw “kids stuff” like prams and toys among the items from the storage unit.
The children, who have not yet been identified, “may have been deceased for a number of years” before being discovered, Det Insp Vaaelua said.
“What I can say is we are making very good progress with DNA inquiries,” he said on Thursday.
“We want to reassure the community our investigation is continuing to establish the facts to ascertain the full circumstances around the deaths of these children.
“This includes establishing when, where, and how. The nature of this discovery provides some complexities to the investigation.”
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