SEOUL – South Korean police said they arrested on Thursday a woman believed to be the mother of two children whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand last month.

The Korean-born New Zealander is charged with murder.

The woman in her 40s was arrested in the south-eastern city of Ulsan earlier in the day, after global police agency Interpol issued a red notice, the Korean National Police Agency said.

“Police arrested the suspect at an apartment in Ulsan on Thursday following a stakeout with tips on her whereabouts and CCTV footage,” the agency said in a statement.  

The woman is suspected of fleeing to South Korea in 2018 after killing her then 7-year-old and 10-year-old children in Auckland, authorities said.

“She’s been found to have arrived in South Korea after the crime and has been in hiding ever since,” the agency added. 

A South Korean court will review whether to extradite the suspect to New Zealand.

New Zealand police launched a homicide inquiry in Auckland after the remains of the children were found by a family going through the contents of a storage locker they had purchased unseen.

The family who found the bodies were not connected to the deaths.

Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa’amanuia Vaaelua in Auckland said the case was “a very challenging investigation”.  

“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 New Zealand Police Interpol staff,” the detective said. REUTERS, AFP