Girl found dead at sea drowned, Coroner rules

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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DEATH AT SEA: Peniamina Lio of Utuali’i points to where the girl’s body was found in August.

DEATH AT SEA: Peniamina Lio of Utuali’i points to where the girl’s body was found in August.

The Coroner in the Inquest of a 14-year-old girl who allegedly stole a boat from the Apia Harbour and was later found dead and floating at Aana has ruled that drowning was the cause of death.

Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Vaai delivered the decision yesterday before families who had gathered to find out how Malagamatamali’i Rosa Fautua, of Vailele, had died.

Judge Vaepule’s decision was based on the report from the Police Investigation Officer Constable Soliali’i Paitoleifi and as well as the Pathologist who both concluded that the girl died from drowning.

 “It is suspected that the girl fell off the boat and drowned on the day she took off in a boat before her body was discovered by some fisherman at Utuali’i.” 

Judge Vaepule ruled out foul play. 

He based his decision on the evidence presented during the Inquest as well as the report from the Pathologist.

According to Constable Soliali’i, the girl died from drowning and he found no evidence of foul play. On Tuesday 16 August 2016, the deceased paid an unexpected visit to her aunty at Matautu-Uta. 

Upon her arrival, her aunty and uncle were about leave for the hospital to see a family member who was having an operation at Moto’otua. The deceased was asked to go with them to the hospital. 

Malagamatamali’i and her aunty were not allowed to see the patient right away as he was already in the theatre. She was told to wait outside with the food they took.

Less than half an hour later, she disappeared. The deceased’s aunty looked everywhere. She ended up going to their house at Matautu and she was not there.

They reported her missing to the Police that day.

Soliali’i said around 10am; the girl was seen by one of the witnesses who was working on the beach at Vaisigano. 

She was walking around the seawall before she took off her skirt, used it to cover her head and only wore green shorts and a white t-shirt when she took the boat.

“Those were the clothes she was wearing when her body was discovered on the next day.” 

Solialii’i said the girl was alone when she took off in the boat.

Around 9a.m. the next day, the Police was informed there was a boat found along the coast by some fishermen at night. 

“The boat was discovered around 1a.m. Wednesday 17th August 2016, with the girl’s skirt inside,” the Constable said. “It was also the same day at 5:30p.m. when the deceased body was discovered by some fishermen at Utuali’i.” 

The investigation officer confirmed that the deceased was found in the clothes she was wearing when she went missing. 

Solialii said they couldn’t identify her initially.

However, on Thursday 18 August 2016 police were informed that a family from Vailele was looking for a young girl. 

“We went to Matautu-uta where her aunty was and showed her the pictures and the skirt and the family confirmed her identification as Malamatamali’i Rosa Fautua.” 

The girl’s body is buried at her grandparents’ house at Vailele.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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