Aunt of Trump VP hopeful Tulsi Gabbard ‘killed by protege in hammer and knife attack’

A poet and the aunt of a Donald Trump vice president hopeful, Tulsi Gabbard, has allegedly been killed by her protege in a hammer and knife attack, according to multiple reports.

Caroline “Sina” Sinavaiana-Gabbard, 78, was allegedly killed by another prominent writer in Samoa on 25 May after an argument turned deadly.

Sinavaiana-Gabbard, who is also the sister of Hawaii Senator Mike Gabbard, was arguing with Papalii Sia Figiel, 57, at the GaluMoana Theatre in the small area of Vaivase-Uta in Samoa when Figiel allegedly stabbed her multiple times and beat her with a hammer, police said according to Spectrum News.

The woman reportedly then fled to a friend’s house and “wasn’t until Sunday morning while they were having breakfast that [Figiel] told her friend what had happened,” Samoa police commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said at a news conference, according to the New Zealand Herald.

She later turned herself into the authorities at the main police station in Apia, police said.

Figiel was initially taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter, but after further investigation, she was charged with murder, Filipo said, according to Spectrum News.

Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, 78, was reportedly killed by her protege with a hammer and a knife (Facebook)
Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, 78, was reportedly killed by her protege with a hammer and a knife (Facebook)

Police said last week that it was unclear at that point what the motive was behind the fatal attack. The victim was the friend, colleague and mentor of Figiel, and both were prominent poets and authors, multiple reports have said.

Senator Gabbard described Sinavainana-Gabbard as his “best friend as a teenager” who helped him “considerably during my rebellious stage of adolescence.”

“She got me hooked on reading, so much so that I followed in her footsteps and majored in English at Sonoma State University in California, then returned to our birthplace, American Samoa, where I taught English in the high schools and was a faculty member, guidance counselor and dean at the community college for many years,” he said in a statement to Spectrum News.

“I was very proud of her accomplishments as a writer and poet,” he continued. “I love her deeply and wish her well as she continues her journey. While I sincerely forgive the murderer of this horrific crime, I’m hoping justice will be served, and that person will be punished to the full extent of the law.”

Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic US congresswoman, has been touted as a possible running mate of Donald Trump (Getty Images)
Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic US congresswoman, has been touted as a possible running mate of Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Sinavainana-Gabbard’s family also told Hawaii News Now that she was the first person of Samoan ancestry to become a full professor in the United States and had an accomplished career as a writer, a teacher and an environmental activist.

She was a University of Hawaii English professor for over 20 years.

Her niece, Tulsi Gabbard, a former congresswoman in the United States who left the Democratic party, has recently welcomed the idea of standing beside Donald Trump as his running mate in the upcoming presidential election.

“I have dedicated my entire adult life to serving our country, and if asked to serve in that way, I’d be honored,” she said at a book-promoting event on Wednesday at the Richard Nixon Library and Museum in California.

While Gabbard currently stands as an independent, she has garnered the attention of Trump due to her outspoken views on the Democrats and has visited the former president multiple times at Mar-A-Lago, according to The New York Times.

When her niece left the Democratic Party in 2022, Sinavaiana-Gabbard told The Independent in an interview two years ago that it is necessary to look to her upbringing in a secretive cult called the Science of Identity Foundation (SIF) to understand her political change.

“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,” the retired professor told The Independent.

“As a historian and lifelong student of eastern philosophies and religions, I find SIF’s role as uncritical cheerleader, if not patron and primary generator, of Tulsi’s checkered political agenda and intemperate, right wing associations to be troubling in the extreme,” she added.

“In any case, I feel impelled to state for the record that in no way whatsoever does Tulsi speak for me, nor my family or culture.”

The Independent has contacted Samoa Police for further information.