South Korea extradited a 42-year-old murder suspect to New Zealand two months after she was arrested over her possible connection to the bodies of two long-dead children found in abandoned suitcases in August.
South Korea’s Justice Ministry said on Tuesday that the unidentified woman was handed over to New Zealand authorities on Monday evening at the Incheon international airport near Seoul. The ministry said it also has provided New Zealand with unspecified “important evidence” on the case.
“With the extradition, we hope that the truth of the case, which has garnered worldwide attention, will be revealed through the fair and strict judicial process of New Zealand,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Korean Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon issued an order for the woman’s extradition earlier this month. The Seoul High Court had earlier granted approval of her extradition after she expressed her consent in writing to be sent back to New Zealand.
South Korean police arrested the woman at a southern port city in September, based on a domestic court warrant issued after New Zealand requested her provisional arrest. New Zealand’s Justice Ministry then submitted a formal request for her extradition to the South Korean ministry.
New Zealand police said the South Korean warrant for the suspect’s arrest was in connection with two murder charges. The children’s bodies were discovered in August after a New Zealand family bought abandoned goods, including two suitcases, from a storage unit in an online auction.
The children were between five and 10-years-old, had been dead for years, and the suitcases had been in storage in Auckland for at least three or four years, according to police.
South Korean police say the woman was born in South Korea and later moved to New Zealand, where she gained citizenship. Immigration records show she had returned to South Korea in 2018.
South Korean police had said it was suspected she could be the mother of the two victims, as her past address in New Zealand was registered to the storage unit where the suitcases were kept.