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Tulsi Gabbard's aunt, Dr Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard killed in Samoa

Award-winning Samoan author Sia Figiel – whose works are also well-known in New Zealand – has been arrested and charged with murder.

The 57-year-old is in police custody in Samoa after turning herself in to authorities on Sunday morning.

Samoan Police Commissioner, Auapaau Logoitino Filipo, told local media the incident happened on Saturday at Figiel’s home in the village of Vaivase-Uta – about a 10-minute drive from the island nation’s capital city of Apia.

Figiel’s property also doubles as the local theatre.

Preliminary findings showed that the victim suffered multiple stab wounds. A hammer and knife were allegedly used, the Commissioner said.

The circumstances surrounding the death are not yet clear.

However, he said he understood an argument between Figiel and the victim had broken out before the incident.

Figiel is then said to have left the victim at her property and gone to a friend’s house about an hour away in the village of Lotofaga.

“It wasn’t until Sunday morning while they were having breakfast that [Figiel] told her friend what had happened,” Auapaau told media.

The author turned herself in to authorities at the main police station in Apia.

Figiel’s works are well-known around the Pacific and New Zealand, where they are published.

Local authorities have identified the victim as Dr Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard; also a respected poet, writer and academic originally from American Samoa.

The 78-year-old, also known as Sina Gabbard, was a professor of English at the University of Hawai’i and was the first Samoan to become a full professor in the US.

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by Anonymousreply 34June 8, 2024 2:43 AM


by Anonymousreply 1May 31, 2024 11:06 PM

A 78-year-old woman who lost her life in a tragic homicide last weekend has been described as a peaceful and calm person by a close friend.

Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, a historian, environmentalist, and retired Professor from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa was the victim in the alleged murder for which playwright and poet Papalii Sia Figiel is charged.

A friend who did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the incident said she was completely shocked and sad when she found out.

"She was a kindred spirit, a brilliant writer and supporter of writers. A peaceful and calm person," she said.

"Someone who did not deserve to die like that. She was a very private person despite being a giant in the literary world."

Her passing shocked many friends in the literary world who have been sending messages on social media about her sudden passing.

In 2022, the late Prof. Gabbard warned of the implications of the Government’s inaction to address concerns about the adverse effects of paraquat. She was part of the group advocating for the ban on the dangerous weedkiller.

Born in 1946, she was an American Samoan academic, writer, poet, and environmentalist and was the first Samoan to become a full professor in the United States. She is the sister of American politician Mike Gabbard and the aunt of politician Tulsi Gabbard.

She was born in Utulei village in American Samoa and educated at Sonoma State University, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawai'i.

Her PhD thesis was on traditional comic theatre in Samoa: a holographic view. She taught creative writing at the University of Hawai'i for nearly 20 years and was an Associate Professor of Pacific literature at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

In 2002, she published her collection of poetry, Alchemies of Distance and in August 2020, she was named by USA Today on its list of influential women from U.S. territories.

Attempts to get a comment from police on an update on the case were unsuccessful by press time.

Figiel, 57, was earlier charged with manslaughter on Sunday, however after all details of the horrific incident that led to the gruesome death of a 78-year-old woman emerged, the police upgraded the charge to murder on Monday.

Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said after the preliminary investigation the police found incriminating evidence leading to the charge being upgraded.

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by Anonymousreply 2May 31, 2024 11:07 PM

[quote] WHO???

She was the sister of Mike Gabbard, Tulsi's father.

by Anonymousreply 3May 31, 2024 11:08 PM

Knives AND hammer? Why the rage??

by Anonymousreply 4May 31, 2024 11:12 PM

Was this aunt who called out the Gabbards for being in a cult?

by Anonymousreply 5May 31, 2024 11:13 PM

Yellow-Brown-Island-People's Problems.

by Anonymousreply 6May 31, 2024 11:14 PM

Lesbian drama?

by Anonymousreply 7May 31, 2024 11:15 PM

Tulsi is homophobic, so that would be interesting if the aunt was a dyke

by Anonymousreply 8May 31, 2024 11:17 PM

She definitely looked like it, R7 and R8.

Maybe it was a case of "lesbian panic," the counterpart to gay panic.

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by Anonymousreply 9May 31, 2024 11:18 PM

And this is Sia Figiel, the one who did the killing.

Maybe they were in a relationship.

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by Anonymousreply 10May 31, 2024 11:20 PM

[quote]Was this aunt who called out the Gabbards for being in a cult?

Yes, this was the aunt who took Tulsi to task, harshly and publicly. RIP

"To understand her ambitions, her aunt Dr Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard tells The Independent in an interview that it is necessary to look to her upbringing in a secretive cult called the Science of Identity Foundation (SIF) whose members show absolute loyalty to a reclusive guru, Chris Butler. A former member told The Independent the group’s teachings are virulently homophobic, often anti-Islamic and misogynist, and how they were forced to worship Butler, who is considered to be akin to a God.

Sinavaiana Gabbard says her niece’s career is all about the pursuit of power, and her bid for the presidency in 2020 was the culmination of four decades of Butler’s efforts to seek political influence. Dr Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard says her niece Tulsi Gabbard is heavily influenced by reclusive Hawaiian guru Chris Butler.

“Once again I find my niece’s apparent penchant for parroting extremist toadies such as Tucker Carlson and vile ‘strongmen’ such as Vladimir Putin, to be problematic and deeply troubling,” Sinavaiana Gabbard, a retired professor of English at the University of Hawaii, told The Independent. “​It gives me no pleasure to ​note that Tulsi’s single governing principle seems to be expedience, which is in effect no principle at all.”"

by Anonymousreply 11May 31, 2024 11:22 PM

Looks like the Aunt had a lot more common sense than her niece. RIP:

“Once again I find my niece’s apparent penchant for parroting extremist toadies such as Tucker Carlson and vile ‘strongmen’ such as Vladimir Putin, to be problematic and deeply troubling,” Sinavaiana Gabbard, a retired professor of English at the University of Hawaii, told The Independent.

by Anonymousreply 12May 31, 2024 11:23 PM

Bob Barker was afraid of somoans. In fact when politely services shop and contestants will he would ask them if they were Samoan and then tell them he was scared of them.

When I was a kid and growing up in the very white state of Utah we actually had a lot of Polynesians because the church recruited heavily there. I always thought they were just a different kind of black people because they never really knew any personally until I was in junior high.

I made friends with her samoan and girl named Lily and our new next door neighbors were tongan. I was also friendly with them. Amusingly the tongans always talked crap about the Samoans and the Samoans would always talk crap about the Tongans and it never made sense to me cuz they all look alike as far as I was concerned. I asked my friend Lily that's why they hated each other and she just said it was cuz they had nappy hair or like so did she and for that matter so did my brother.

by Anonymousreply 13May 31, 2024 11:29 PM

You need a sub editor, R13.

And medication.

by Anonymousreply 14June 1, 2024 12:25 AM

Yes. Yes, I did it. I killed Caroline. I hated her, so much...it-it- the f - it -flam - flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths... Heathing...

by Anonymousreply 15June 1, 2024 12:32 AM

R15 is posting from the psych ward.

by Anonymousreply 16June 1, 2024 12:52 AM

Guess again, R16.

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by Anonymousreply 17June 1, 2024 1:01 AM

Lol R15/R17.

I have seen Clue a million times, and for some reason I don't remember that scene at all.

by Anonymousreply 18June 1, 2024 1:09 AM

R17 I can't count the number of times that I quoted that very line while playing out at recess in elementary school.

by Anonymousreply 19June 1, 2024 1:28 AM

R12 The aunt reminds me a bit of Mary Trump. She knows her niece, brother, and others in the family are/were power hungry and she took them task for it.

by Anonymousreply 20June 1, 2024 2:10 PM

^ Good comparison!

by Anonymousreply 21June 1, 2024 4:12 PM

Samoans can get very heated, very fast.

And the worst part is that the argument doesn't even have to make sense. When they get angry, they get angry.

If you want an idea of how quickly things can escalate with them, just watch this scene.

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by Anonymousreply 22June 1, 2024 8:59 PM

Plagarism has its cost!@

by Anonymousreply 23June 1, 2024 9:19 PM

[QUOTE]And the worst part is that the argument doesn't even have to make sense. When they get angry, they get angry.

And they're fucking huge, massive, muscular people..

by Anonymousreply 24June 1, 2024 9:32 PM

[quote]When they get angry, they get angry.

Don't ever insult their cookies.

by Anonymousreply 25June 1, 2024 10:09 PM

Tulsi gives off lesbian vibes.

by Anonymousreply 26June 1, 2024 10:11 PM

^ yep

by Anonymousreply 27June 1, 2024 10:12 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if Tulsi is a self loathing closet case. She was besties with Aaron Schock when he was in Congress.

by Anonymousreply 28June 2, 2024 12:09 AM

I like those Samoan cookies from Girl Scouts.

by Anonymousreply 29June 2, 2024 12:20 AM

Samoans are KOO KOO.

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by Anonymousreply 30June 3, 2024 11:22 PM

R30, I don't know what you're talking about

by Anonymousreply 31June 4, 2024 12:06 AM

I slipped.

by Anonymousreply 32June 4, 2024 1:29 AM


by Anonymousreply 33June 8, 2024 2:42 AM

I had chocolate pudding for dessert.

by Anonymousreply 34June 8, 2024 2:43 AM
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