KILLED – Gabbard’s Family Suffers Terrible Loss

Former Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) served in the House for seven years, is a veteran, and briefly ran for president in 2020 as a Democrat. In 2022, she announced she was leaving the Democratic Party, which didn’t come as a surprise to most. Her father, Mike Gabbard, is also in politics, serving as a state senator in Hawaii since 2006. The Gabbard family recently received some horrific news.

On May 25, Senator Gabbard’s sister, Caroline “Sina” Sinavaiana-Gabbard, was reportedly arguing with Papalii Sia Figiel at Figiel’s GaluMoana Theater in Vaivase-Uta when the disagreement turned violent. According to police, Figiel pulled out a knife and stabbed Sinavaiana-Gabbard several times before beating her to death with a hammer.

Yes, you read that right. A knife and a hammer. We’re not talking about a heated political debate gone wrong; we’re talking about a barbaric act of violence that would make the most hardened criminals blush.

The suspect then fled the establishment and went to a friend’s house. Samoa police commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said Figiel was arrested for manslaughter, but authorities upgraded the charge to murder.

Sinavaiana-Gabbard and her brother were born in American Samoa but spent part of their childhood in the United States. The victim earned multiple degrees studying at Sonoma State University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii — where she earned her Ph.D. Sinavaiana-Gabbard was a professor for more than 20 years before returning to the US, where she won a teaching award for her stellar work in the field of Pacific literature and cultural studies. She was a writer with a voice that was a “new blend of Samoan, American, and widely-ranging poetic and philosophical languages.”

So, we’re not just talking about a tragic loss; we’re talking about the brutal murder of an intellectual giant, a mentor, and a beloved family member.

Mr. Gabbard released a statement after his sister’s murder, calling Caroline his “best friend as a teenager,” adding that he “love[d] her deeply.” The state senator also said he forgave the suspect but called for justice.

Forgiveness and justice. A rare combo in today’s world, especially when we’re dealing with a crime this heinous. But it speaks volumes about the Gabbard family’s character.

Figiel’s motive for the killing is unclear. The two women were colleagues and friends, and those familiar with the relationship said Dr. Gabbard was the suspect’s mentor. The alleged perpetrator is reportedly being held on a round-the-clock suicide watch while she awaits arraignment.

Now, let’s pause and reflect on this for a moment. We have a mentor-student relationship gone disastrously wrong, leading to one of the most gruesome murders you could imagine. Figiel, once under Dr. Gabbard’s guidance, turned into a cold-blooded killer. The question is, why? What snapped?

The Gabbard family, already under the public spotlight due to their political engagements, now faces an unimaginable personal tragedy. It’s a poignant reminder of the fragile line between public service and private suffering.

As the legal proceedings unfold, one can only hope for a semblance of justice to be served. But justice won’t bring back Caroline Sinavaiana-Gabbard, a woman whose life was dedicated to education, mentorship, and bridging cultural divides.

This horrific event underscores the unpredictability of human nature and the devastating impact of unchecked violence. It also calls for a deeper examination of the relationships we build and the latent dangers that sometimes lie within them.

Let’s keep the Gabbard family in our thoughts and prayers as they navigate through this storm of grief and seek justice for a beloved sister, mentor, and friend.