- Zubaidah Abdul Jalil
- BBC News
New Zealand police have opened an investigation after a family found human remains in suitcases bought at auction.
The family, who live in the south of the capital, Auckland, made the terrible discovery after unpacking their purchased items.
Police authorities have launched a homicide investigation and are trying to identify who owns the remains.
The family is not believed to have been involved in the death.
According to what is known so far, the family acquired several items, including the suitcases, in an auction held by a storage company last Thursday (11/8).
It is common for some companies in the sector to hold auctions of items stored in non-performing storage units. In general, all objects left behind are sold as a whole unit inside a container.
Typically, buyers are unable to inspect abandoned items before purchasing them—many bids are placed in the hope of a valuable surprise.
The discovery of the remains was only made after residents took the items purchased at the auction to their home, according to police detective inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua.
Several of the family’s neighbors reported smelling a “horrible smell” emanating from the property before police arrived, according to local news website Stuff.
A neighbor — a former crematorium worker — said the smell was immediately recognizable.
“I immediately knew [que eram restos humanos] and I thought, ‘Where does this come from?'” he said.
Another neighbor said his son saw a suitcase being unloaded from a container and taken by police to a forensic analysis tent erected at the site.
Images published by Stuff show the container parked at the entrance of the house, located in a suburb of the capital, while the police carried out their investigations.
Law enforcement officials said their priority is “to confirm the identification of the deceased so that we can establish all the circumstances behind the discovery”.
They added that given the “nature of the discovery”, it would take time for the victim’s next of kin to be formally communicated.
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