Church Minister implicated in student's death investigation

Police have widened their investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of a Year 11 student from Savai’i, and are now examining the role of a Church Minister in the alleged incident.

The college student passed away last weekend but, despite Police hearing of an allegation that someone had sought to deliberately harm the child, an initial postmortem and the boy's death certificate did not suggest he died from anything other than natural causes. 

But Police have since widened their investigation into the circumstances of the teenager's death after apparently uncovering inconsistencies during the course of their investigations. 

The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, told the Samoa Observer that the Police would now seek to review the initial medical findings that suggested the child had died of natural causes and were pursuing fresh lines of inquiry. 

“We are looking at a church minister being involved in this case,” he said. 

“We have officially made it as a Police inquiry. 

“We are requesting a coroner’s inquest and to have a forensic pathologist to examine the body."

The Police Commissioner would not divulge any further information on the investigation, including the details about the Church Minister and what role he may have played in the child's death. 

“The case is widening and as soon as we get a little bit closer and concrete then we can give [out] more info but right now we are moving forward with this investigation,” he said.

He also confirmed that they have yet to arrest anyone in relation to the death.

During a previous interview on Wednesday the Police Commissioner did not rule out foul play but said that there was no medical evidence to suggest it. 

He said that there was an allegation that an individual from Savai'i had hurt the child who later died at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital.

“A death certificate that we have in our possession that we are looking at does not suggest anything else other than it is a medical case,” he said.

"From the information that I got from my investigators is that there is no coroner’s inquest that was asked by the doctor on this particular case.

“But we are still digging a little bit more and we will make a conclusion if there is any foul play here or if it is just a natural occurrence.”

Several attempts have been made to contact the family of the deceased but they have not been returned. 

The child cannot be identified for legal reasons. 


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