In August this year, the mystery surrounding the discovery of a young girl found dead and floating at Utuali’i sent shockwaves across the nation.
Among the men who made the grisly discovery was 25-year-old Sam Taufao. He recalled that they were fishing when they “saw something floating on the sea.”
“When we got closer, we discovered it was a body of a young girl already dead,” he said.
The matter immediately became the subject of a Police investigation, with the findings later revealed in Court. In September, the Inquest started.
It was revealed then that the young girl was 14-years-old identified as Malagamatamali’i Rosa Fautua. With Judge Vaepule Vaemoa Va’ai presiding, six witnesses were called.
It was immediately established that Malagamatamali’i stole a boat and took off towards the open ocean on the day of the incident.
A 64-year-old father, who was working on a machine on the beach that day, saw her heading off but did not think much of what was happening.
“I thought her family owns the boat and she was having a swim,” he said.
Another witness, Vitale Stowers, who was working around the bay, said he too saw the girl taking the boat by herself.
Stowers said before Malaga passed by, he saw another woman on a V1 canoe.
“A woman was wearing a purple top and tights, she was rowing the V1 and I didn’t see it return,” Stowers said.
It was the last time Malaga was seen alive.
The girl’s body was later discovered by Mataafa Aileafi and his fishing crew at Utuali’i. Mataafa said when they saw the body; they brought her back to shore and reported the matter to the police at Afega.
Another witness, Pei Taliu Te’o, discovered the boat at night just outside of the coast of Leulumoega.
“We towed it back to the Apia fish market and notified our boss about he abandoned boat.” Pei told the Police that when they found the boat floating at sea, the engine was still running. There was no one on it except for a black skirt.
Police Investigation Officer Constable Soliali’i Paitoleifi said the deceased paid an unexpected visit to her aunty at Matautu-Uta the day before she died.
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 – including their house at Matautu. She could not be found.
Soliali’i said around 10am; the girl was seen by one of the witnesses who was working on the beach at Vaisigano. She was apparently 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.
That was in September.
Fast forward to this week; the Coroner has now delivered his decision ruling that the girl died from drowning.
Judge Vaepule’s decision was apparently based on the report from the Police Investigation Officer and 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 said, ruling out foul play.
Okay. Fair enough.
A young girl alone in the open water would obviously struggle to survive. And drowning is probably the most logical conclusion.
But there is something eerily odd about this case that has never been delved into.
Folks, here we had a 14-year-old girl, barely a teenager who simply walked onto a boat, starts its engine and takes off into the open ocean. Why would a girl so young do such a thing? How did she learn to do that? How did she know which boat to pick? Most importantly, where was she heading?
This case deserves a lot more attention than it has been given.
It is not normal for a 14-year-old girl to steal a boat and head off on her own.
Something doesn’t sound right about the events of this particular day and the Police should not be resting until they make sense of it. It sure doesn’t make sense to us. What do you think?
Have a safe Friday Samoa, God bless!