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Bodies-in-suitcases suspect appears in New Zealand court : NPR


A woman, center, leaves for the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office at Ulsan Jungbu police station in Ulsan, South Korea, on September 15, 2022.

Bae Byung Soo/AP


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A woman, center, leaves for the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office at Ulsan Jungbu police station in Ulsan, South Korea, on September 15, 2022.

Bae Byung Soo/AP

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A woman extradited from South Korea this week after the bodies of her two children were found in abandoned suitcases appeared in court for the first time in New Zealand on Wednesday. .

The 42-year-old woman has been charged with two counts of murder. She is not required to give a plea during the short due process hearing in Manukau District Court.

The judge imposed a temporary order keeping many details of the case secret, including the names of the woman and the victims. The judge allowed it to be reported that the suspect was the mother of the children, according to The New Zealand Herald.

If convicted, the woman will face the mandatory sentence of life in prison, although she will be eligible for parole after a minimum of 10 years.

In court, the woman wore a brown jacket over a black T-shirt. According to the Herald, the woman, through an interpreter, asked the judge if she could speak to him, before the woman’s attorney entered saying it would be better if she didn’t, and the judge agreed.

The woman left the courtroom in less than five minutes and will be jailed until her next trial on December 14.

The case shocked many in New Zealand after the children’s bodies were discovered in August when an Auckland family purchased discarded items, including two suitcases, from a warehouse during an auction. online.

The children, aged between five and 10, have been dead for many years, and the suitcases have been stored in Auckland for at least three or four years, according to New Zealand police.

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

The first Korean police catch the woman in a southern port city in September. The Seoul High Court later approved her extradition after she gave her written consent to be returned to New Zealand. Earlier this month, South Korean Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon ordered the woman’s extradition.

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

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

South Korean police said they suspect the woman may be the mother of two victims, as her previous address in New Zealand was registered to the storage unit where the suitcases were kept.

New Zealand authorities said the family that ended up buying suitcases and other abandoned storage items had nothing to do with the case.

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