Tulsi Gabbard’s aunt allegedly stabbed and beaten to death with hammer in Samoa

The paternal aunt of the former Hawaiian Democratic Representative. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) was allegedly stabbed multiple times and beaten to death with a hammer in a brutal murder committed by her protégé in Samoa, police on the island nation said.

Caroline “Sina” Sinavaiana-Gabbard, 78, was found dead on May 25 at the GaluMoana Theater in Vaiase-Uta, Spectrum News reported. Sinavaiana-Gabbard allegedly argued with Papalii Sia Figiel, 57, a Samoan poet and writer who was allegedly mentored by the older woman. The fight escalated into a fatal beating when Figiel allegedly stabbed Sinavaiana-Gabbard multiple times and hit her with a hammer before fleeing to a friend’s house, where she was arrested, police said.

Figiel was initially charged with manslaughter, but the charges were upgraded to murder after a police investigation, Samoa Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo told reporters at a news conference.

He added that police had no clear motive for the crime.

Sinavaiana-Gabbard, a former professor at the University of Hawaii, was the older sister of Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard, who is Tulsi Gabbard’s father. He expressed his grief over her murder in a statement to Spectrum News.

“Caroline was my best friend when I was a teenager,” he said. “I love her dearly and wish her well as she continues her journey. Although I sincerely forgive the murderer for this horrible crime, I hope that justice will be served and that this person will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Before retiring, Sinavaiana-Gabbard taught Pacific literature at the University of Hawaii for more than 20 years. Born in American Samoa, she made history as the first researcher of Samoan descent to become a full professor at an American university.

Figiel is expected to appear in court on June 10. New York Post reported.

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