Tulsi Gabbard’s Aunt Killed, Samoan Author Charged


Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (I-HI) aunt was reportedly killed by a Samoan poet and author who was arrested and charged with murder last weekend.

Papalii Sia Figiel was charged with the murder of 78-year-old Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, a retired professor from the University of Hawaii in Manoa. Sinavaiana-Gabbard was reportedly beaten with a hammer and stabbed “multiple” times,  Somoan Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo told the Somoan Observer.

Sinavaiana-Gabbard, who had been the sister of Hawaii State Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), was described as being a “kindred spirit” and a “brilliant writer.”

“Caroline was my best friend as a teenager,” her brother said in a statement to Spectrum News, adding that his sister had helped him a lot during his “rebellious stage of adolescence.”

The Hawaii state senator added that his sister had been responsible for getting him “hooked on reading” and impacted his life in such a way that he “followed in her footsteps and majored in English at Sonoma State University in California.”

“She was a kindred spirit, a brilliant writer and supporter of writers,” an unnamed friend said. “A peaceful and calm person.”

Figiel was reportedly initially charged with manslaughter on Sunday, May 26. However, the next day police officers upgraded the charge to murder after more details emerged, Filipo explained to the outlet.

The police commissioner explained that a “hammer is alleged to have been used as well as a small knife that inflicted multiple stab wounds on the deceased.”

“We do not know what the motive is of the offending but from reports the incident occurred on Saturday and the suspect left the deceased at her home while she went out to Lotofaga and spent time with a friend,” Filipo explained, adding that on Sunday, Figiel had admitted to a friend what she had done before reporting the incident to the police.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Figiel’s home also serves as a theater.



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