Mayor cautious about mystery death probe

The mayor of a village in Upolu where Police have re-opened the investigation of a missing persons case is remaining cautious with public comment.

Speaking to the Sunday Samoan yesterday, the Mayor, whose name is withheld, said he is aware about the heavy presence of Police officers in the village and he does not want to give too much details away. 

On Friday, Acting Assistant Police Commissioner, Sala’a Moananu Sala’a, confirmed the Police are investigating a case involving a missing man and an alleged plot by some village men to cover up a bizarre killing back in 2013. 

Two men have been questioned and are under Police custody with more arrests possible.

 Sala’a declined to discuss the details of the case except to say there was “no new” information over the years until four days ago when police got a new lead. 

More than 20 Police officers - including contracted divers – were immediately assigned to the village on Friday 

Yesterday, the Village Mayor told the Sunday Samoan they were a bit shocked when there was talk in the village about the alleged murder case.

This escalated with the heavy Police presence.

“I was not too happy about the police not reaching out directly to me, who is the village mayor, for assistance." 

“I know the police are doing their job, but nonetheless they should have informed me and to see what I can do to help them.”

He confirmed there was talk about the alleged plot by some village men.

“But that was it, just talk. It wasn’t until the heavy presence of the Police which got me thinking real hard about this stuff... if this type of crime did occur in our village, we have to do something about it.”

Asked if he could provide the Samoa Observer with some directions to the family of the missing man, he was reluctant.

 “You should get the information from the Police. I cannot say anything about that.” 

One man from the village also confirmed with the Sunday Samoan that he was at the area where the Police officers and divers conducted the search on Friday.

“There were many of us who came to help the Police Officers, look around and we did not find anything.... nothing at all,” he said.

In the meantime, the two men who have been questioned are under Police custody.

The Sunday Samoan understands the two men were taken into Police custody for a different matter when they coughed up information about the case.

A Police source told the Sunday Samoan that during interrogation process, one of the men admitted to the Police that he and two other men were responsible for the death of a man who has been missing since 2013.

Back in 2013, it is alleged that the three men went to purchase the missing man’s cattle. When the missing refused, the men allegedly plotted to steal the cattle. 

The plot was carried out but it hit a snag when the owner caught the thieves in action. It is alleged that this was when they assaulted the man. 

The source said the men cleared out the cattle’s organs and allegedly stuffed the man inside its stomach. They then threw the cattle down the river where it washed out into the ocean.

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