A 42-year-old mother extradited from South Korea appeared for the first time in a New Zealand court on Wednesday, facing murder charges after the remains of her two children were found in suitcases in Auckland.
Dressed in a beige jacket and black T-shirt, the woman appeared briefly in Manukau District Court, South Auckland, a day after arriving in the country.
The court’s suppression orders prohibit the media from naming the woman or her deceased children. But Judge Gus Andrée Wiltens allowed reporting the fact that she is their mother.
The suspect, who faces two counts of murder, has been remanded in custody without making a plea until her next appearance at Auckland High Court on December 14.
Through an interpreter, she asked to address the judge, but her lawyer intervened, saying, “I think it would be best if she didn’t.”
The judge agreed, and the accused was led out of court.
The hearing occurred less than 24 hours after the defendant flew to Auckland airport under police escort after being extradited from South Korea.
Korean police arrested her in the port city of Ulsan in September, a month after New Zealand police discovered the remains of her two children, aged 5 to 10.
At the time of her arrest, the suspect repeatedly told reporters, “I didn’t” as she was being driven into a police vehicle.
The children’s bodies were found after an unsuspecting family bought the suitcases at an online abandoned property auction.
New Zealand police said the bodies had likely been in storage for several years, complicating the investigation.
Authorities said the family who found the bodies were not linked to the homicides and had been given counseling to help them deal with the trauma.