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Coroner to approve release of deceased bodies

Families who have had the bodies of their loved ones withheld by Police for months awaiting autopsy will have to make an application to the Coroner to have them released.

This was confirmed by the Deputy Police Commissioner, Papali’i Monalisa Tiai Keti.

Since the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on international borders, there have been two deceased bodies under Police custody until a Pathologist can examine it. 

One of the two deceased is a 16-year-old boy from Savai’i who is alleged to have been assaulted by a church minister prior to his unexpected death. His grief-stricken mother, Vagalena Viliamu had recently told the Samoa Observer that she does not care about the Police investigation.

All she wants is to lay him to rest. Her son is So’otaga Viliamu who died in February and remains at a morgue in Moto’otua. 

“The Office of the Attorney General is yet to confirm when a pathologist is schedule to come to Samoa given the COVID-19 lockdown,” Papali'i told the Samoa Observer in an email. 

“Our office in consultation with the A.G. will determine the best way if travel restrictions prevent any pathologist from coming up to the end of this year.” 

She confirmed that there are two bodies being withheld to undergo a post mortem from the month of February. 

It could not be confirmed what is the other case aside from the 16-year-old’s body. 

The mother of the teenager said her son had a condition similar to his father’s which is leukemia that also caused her husband’s death. 

 Mrs. Viliamu claims she has been told that the challenge is that someone filed a complaint alleging there was foul play but the family are not aware of whom it is.

“We don’t understand who those people are and it is definitely not our family, all we want is to bury him quickly. Anything other than that, they can do it on their own,” she said. 

“My son has been in there for far too long, all I ask is for the chance to bring him home.”

In March, Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil said Police investigators are making inquiries into allegations that the teenager died as a result of foul play or having been deliberately harmed.

But after apparently uncovering inconsistencies during the course of their investigations, Fuiavailiili confirmed that they are requesting a coroner’s inquest to have a forensic pathologist examine the body.

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