The official said the woman, a New Zealand citizen, arrived in South Korea in 2018 and there was no record of her subsequently departing the country.
According to the official, the woman held Korean citizenship before acquiring New Zealand citizenship a “long time ago.” The official did not name the woman or give any other identifying details and could not confirm whether she was born in South Korea.
Her whereabouts are unknown, the official said. South Korean police have not opened their own investigation into the case, but are cooperating with New Zealand authorities through Interpol.
The children — likely to have been between ages 5 and 10 — may have been dead for a number of years, perhaps three or four, according to New Zealand police.
The family who bought the suitcases at auction are not under investigation, New Zealand police have said.
New Zealand police on Monday told CNN they were unable to confirm the details provided by South Korean police at this stage of the investigation.