A family was shocked to discover the remains of two young children inside a set of secondhand suitcases they had purchased.
Police have now speculated that the bodies were likely there for three or four years before the gruesome discovery was made.
The family who found the corpses, from Manurewa, in Auckland, New Zealand, won the unfortunate prizes in an auction on August 11 before finding the remains, prompting cops to launch a murder inquiry.
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A police cordon was put up at the family home, while neighbours commented that the odour when the cases came home was noticeable.
"They brought it back on a trailer. How did they not pick up the smell?" one neighbour told the New Zealand Herald.
"I’m a pig hunter and when a carcass goes bad it’s the same smell. That’s why I thought it was a dead animal."
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Police have confirmed the family who bought the suitcases are not involved in the incident in any way.
The remains are thought to have belonged to children aged between five and 10 years old.
New Zealand Police Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua, who is on the case, has now confirmed that police believe the children's bodies have been there for several years each.
CCTV will now be analysed to try to determine what happened to the children, but Inspector Vaaelua admits the case is likely to be a tricky one to solve, given how long it has been since the bodies were likely stashed and the young age of the victims involved.
Relatives of the victims are living in New Zealand, he said, but the children have not yet been formally identified.
"We're still on a fact-finding mission and we still have a lot of unanswered questions," he said.
"I really for the family of these victims, there are relatives out there that aren't aware that their loved ones are deceased, especially two young children."
As well as the bodies, the horrified family discovered personal items in the suitcases.
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