Loving sister grieves for brother killed on Easter Sunday

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, Tuatalatala.com (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  •  ( l r) Grieving sister Pelenatete Senio with her brother and victim of a fatal beating, Miracle Iva Aileone 
    ( l r) Grieving sister Pelenatete Senio with her brother and victim of a fatal beating, Miracle Iva Aileone 

The oldest sister of 20-year-old Miracle Iva Aileone, is mourning the loss of her little brother, who was allegedly beaten to death on the evening of Easter Sunday in Fasitoo Uta.

Pelenatete Senio, 37, said it’s hard to forget her brother, the fourth of seven siblings, and a funny yet obedient young man whose fulltime job was to care for his parents.

“It’s hard to talk about my brother and how he is missed in our family. He was not a person who talked back to my parents,” she tearfully told reporters.

“No matter how much my parents scolded him, he never answered them back.

At the time of this interview, Pelenatete had not seen her brother since he left the house Sunday for the store.

“Only my parents and brothers have seen him. They have been at the hospital since the beating,” she said.

There are many unanswered questions surrounding Miracle’s death but a witness says two men – a man from Nofoalii and his brother-in-law – beat him until he was unconscious.

Afterward, they poured water on him to try and revive him. When that didn’t work, the men implicated in the beating took him to the hospital.

On Easter Sunday morning, Miracle accompanied his uncle’s brother-in-law, who was visiting from Australia, to the bus stop then he helped with the umu at his aunt’s house. He had toanai with his family, got a haircut, went for a swim in the village pool and then went home, changed his clothes and took a nap.

After his nap, in the evening, Miracle went to the store with a friend.

“And he never came back,” Pelenatete said.

It was Miracle’s friend who witnessed the beating and told his family what happened.

Pelenatete said Miracle has an injury on his head, “a hole” and his lips, eyes and forehead are black and blue.

“I don’t know what they did to him,” she said.

Asked what caused the men to beat her brother, Pelenatete said, it may have stemmed from a previous incident where Miracle threw a rock at a piglet owned by one of the men.

Miracle was an altar boy and his name is derived from what Church members call a divine revelation of the Eucharist that occurred at the Ekalesia Katoliko Maria Imakulata in Fasitoo Uta 20 years ago.

“We won’t have anyone to make us laugh in our family anymore,” Pelenatete said.

”Where ever Miracle was, there was laughter. It’s very hard for us to forget him. We miss him.”