Suspect with body in suitcases appears in New Zealand court


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A woman who was extradited from South Korea this week after the bodies of her two children were found in abandoned suitcases appeared in New Zealand’s first courtroom on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old woman was charged with murder twice. During his brief procedural hearing in the Manukau District Court, he was not required to make a defense.

The judge made an interim ruling that kept many details of the case confidential, including the names of the women and victims. The judge allowed the suspect to be declared the mother of the children, according to The New Zealand Herald.

If found guilty, the woman will face a mandatory life sentence, but will be eligible for parole after at least 10 years.

In court, the woman wore a tan jacket over a black T-shirt. According to the Herald, the woman asked the judge if she could talk to him through an interpreter, then her lawyer stepped in and said it would be better if she didn’t, and the judge agreed.

The woman left the courtroom less than five minutes later and will remain in jail until her next hearing on December 14.

The case has horrified many in New Zealand after the bodies of children were found in August when an Auckland family bought abandoned goods, including two suitcases, from a warehouse at an online auction.

According to New Zealand police, the children were between the ages of 5 and 10, had been dead for years, and the suitcases had been in storage in Auckland for at least three or four years.

South Korean police said the woman was born in South Korea and later moved to New Zealand, where she gained citizenship. Immigration records show he returned to South Korea in 2018.

South Korean police first arrested the woman in a southern port city in September. The Seoul High Court approved the applicant’s extradition after expressing in writing that it consented to the refoulement to New Zealand. Earlier this month, South Korean Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon issued an order for the woman’s extradition.

The woman was handed over to three New Zealand police officers at Incheon International Airport near Seoul on Monday evening. South Korea’s Ministry of Justice also said it provided New Zealand with unspecified “significant evidence” of the case.

“With the extradition, we hope that the truth of the case, which has garnered worldwide attention, will be revealed through New Zealand’s fair and strict judicial process,” the ministry said in a statement.

South Korean police said they suspected the woman might be the mother of two victims, as her former address in New Zealand was registered in the warehouse where the luggage was kept.

New Zealand officials said the family who bought the suitcases and other abandoned storage items had nothing to do with the case.

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