Acclaimed Samoan Author Arrested In Connection With The Murder Of Tulsi Gabbard’s Aunt

Renowned Samoan playwright and author Papalii Sia Figiel, 57, has been taken into custody by authorities in connection with the death of Caroline Sinaviana-Gabbard, 78, the aunt of former Hawaii Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Sinaviana-Gabbard, a retired University of Hawaii professor, was found dead on May 25th at Figiel’s home in the village of Vaivase-Uta, Samoa.

According to police reports, Sinaviana-Gabbard had been beaten with a hammer and suffered multiple stab wounds. Samoan Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo stated that the two women had argued before the incident escalated into violence, although the cause of the argument remains unclear.

Local media reports indicate that Sinaviana-Gabbard was Figiel’s mentor, and the two were friends and colleagues. Figiel’s home, where the incident occurred, also served as the local movie theater.

Sinaviana-Gabbard was a trailblazer in her field, becoming the first Samoan to hold a full professorship in the United States. Her family remembers her as a talented writer, educator, and environmental activist. Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard, Sinaviana-Gabbard’s brother, expressed his deep love for his sister and the significant role she played in his life, particularly during his rebellious teenage years.

While expressing forgiveness for the person responsible for his sister’s death, Mike Gabbard also voiced his desire for justice and his hope that the perpetrator would face the full consequences of the law.

As the investigation into Sinaviana-Gabbard’s death continues, the Samoan literary community and the Gabbard family mourn the loss of a pioneering academic and beloved family member.

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