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HomeNewsTulsi Gabbard remembers aunt after brutal murder that sent ‘shockwaves’

Tulsi Gabbard remembers aunt after brutal murder that sent ‘shockwaves’


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Tulsi Gabbard has shared an emotional tribute to her aunt, Caroline Sinaviana-Gabbard, who was brutally murdered by Samoan author Papalii Sia Figiel. Gabbard expressed that the horrific incident has sent “shockwaves through our family.”

Caroline Sinaviana-Gabbard, a 78-year-old retired professor from the University of Hawaii, was murdered on May 25 in Figiel’s home in the village of Vaivase-Uta, near Apia. Reports indicated that she was stabbed multiple times and beaten with a hammer.

Papalii Sia Figiel, a 57-year-old renowned Samoan author and playwright, has been arrested in connection with the crime.


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A post shared by Tulsi Gabbard (@tulsigabbard)

In an Instagram post, Tulsi Gabbard remembered her aunt fondly and shared her gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and condolences. She posted several photos alongside her message, stating, “Thank you to all who have taken the time to send me warm messages of prayers and condolences in the wake of my aunt’s tragic murder in Samoa. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by your love and prayers.”

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Gabbard reminisced about the time she spent with her aunt during her childhood. “My aunt Caroline was my dad’s only sister, and the only relative of ours who lived in Hawaii when I was growing up. I spent a lot of time with her as a kid at her cottage in the back of Manoa Valley, where she often shared her poetry with me and encouraged me to pursue my own writing,” she wrote.

She added, “The news of her horrific death sent shockwaves through our family. We miss her, cherish the happy memories we shared, and are keeping her in our prayers. Life is short. Hold close the ones you love, and make the most of every day we are blessed with life.”

Samoan Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo reported that Caroline and Figiel had an argument before the murder, although the cause of the dispute remains unclear. The two were reportedly friends and colleagues, with Caroline serving as Figiel’s mentor.

Caroline Sinaviana-Gabbard was a trailblazer, becoming the first Samoan to achieve the rank of full professor in the United States. She was also the sister of Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard.

This tragic event has deeply affected both the local and academic communities, as well as those who knew Caroline personally and professionally. Her contributions and the impact she had on her students and colleagues are remembered with great respect and admiration.


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