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New Zealand family discovers human remains in storage unit bought at auction

Buying any kind of property, sight unseen, always carries a high risk, and one New Zealand family has learned that lesson the hard way.

The unnamed family bought a trailer-sized storage unit at an auction last week and began sorting through the new belongings they acquired with the purchase when they made a gruesome discovery: dismembered human remains.

Police are currently in the process of determining the identity of the remains, and indeed, even the number of remains. Police are investing the situation as a possible homicide.

On Friday, Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua said he expected the post-mortems to be completed “over the coming days.”

“The priority for police is to confirm the identification of the deceased so that we can establish the full circumstances behind the discovery,” Vaaelua continued.

“This will also lead to the advising of next of kin,” he added. “Given the nature of the discovery, this might take some time.”

The remains themselves were discovered in suitcases located within the storage unit. However, even neighbors were alerted to the presence of decomposed remains by the “wicked” smell emanating from the storage unit, which had been brought to the South Auckland home owned by the buyers.

One neighbor, a former crematorium employee, recognized the smell immediately.

“I knew straight away, and I thought, ‘Where is that coming from?'” the unidentified man said.

“I could smell it here,” another neighbor remarked. “I thought it was a dead cat or something.”

Bidders throughout the world often buy storage units and foreclosed homes at auction without the chance to survey the contents. The hope is that one such purchase will yield a treasure trove of hidden valuables.

However, in this instance, the hidden contents brought undue national and international attention on the South Auckland family, who are not believed to have been involved in the possible crime. In order to avoid the spotlight, the family has relocated temporarily and left their home in the care of a relative.

The male relative told reporters that the family is “doing all right” but would like some privacy at this time.

For video footage of the scene outside the residence, see this news report from the New Zealand Herald: