The bodies of five children were found in a trash bin in a town in southwestern China, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported Sunday, adding that the kids apparently died of suffocation.

The five children, all about age 10, could have suffocated in the trash bin when they took shelter there to get out of the night cold, but local police also said that they could have been murdered and their bodies stashed there, Xinhua reported.

The children's bodies were found by a trash collector in the city of Bijie in a trash bin with a hermeticlly sealed lid that, according to photographs circulating on the Internet, measures 1.5 meters long by 1.3 meters wide (about 5 feet by 4 feet).

In the mountain town of Bijie, in the southwestern province of Guizhou, low temperatures of -6 C (21 F) were experienced over night last Friday, when the children supposedly died.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, Xinhua said. EFE