A 42-year-old woman was arrested in South Korea on Thursday in connection with the deaths of two young children whose bodies were found in New Zealand last month, the authorities said.
The woman faces two charges of murder in New Zealand, according to the police there, who said they would seek to have her extradited from South Korea. She was arrested at a residence in the southeastern city of Ulsan at 1 a.m., the local police said.
It was the latest development in a grisly investigation that began in New Zealand last month, after the children’s remains were found in two suitcases that had been purchased in an online auction, along with other unclaimed household items from an Auckland storage facility.
The people who bought the items alerted the authorities after discovering the bodies, which the police said might have been in the storage facility for as long as four years.
The children, whose names have not been released, were between 5 and 10 years old, according to the police in New Zealand, who have not said how they died. A New Zealand court has suppressed their names, and those of their parents, to protect the family’s privacy. The police in South Korea have said that the woman arrested Thursday was believed to be the children’s mother.
The woman, a New Zealand citizen, was born in South Korea and returned in 2018, according to the South Korean authorities, who said last month that there was no evidence that she had left the country since then.
A New Zealand news outlet, Stuff, reported that the children’s father was from South Korea and had died of cancer in 2017.
The police in South Korea used medical records and phone numbers to locate the woman, the police in Ulsan said. She was arrested on a warrant issued by a South Korean court after the New Zealand police asked for her arrest under the terms of an extradition treaty. The Ulsan police said the woman would be taken to Seoul and handed over to prosecutors.
“To have someone in custody overseas within such a short period of time has all been down to the assistance of the Korean authorities and the coordination by our N.Z. Police Interpol staff,” Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa’amanuia Vaaelua, a spokesman for the New Zealand police, said in a statement.
Jin Yu Young contributed reporting.