Samoan Mother of Three Stabbed to Death by Estranged Partner while Children were Present

"She was unresponsive but still alive when officers arrived, with her two toddler-aged children present"


29 November 2023, Salinas California, USA.  A Samoan mother was stabbed to death by the father of her children, whom she had a domestic violence protection order filed against, according to Salinas Police.

Police found 30-year-old Eleni Tauvau still alive and suffering from multiple stab wounds inside her apartment home at 3pm on Sunday 25th June 2023.

“She was unresponsive but still alive when officers arrived, with her two toddler-aged children present” reads a Salinas Police Department statement.

“Officers rendered medical aid to Tavau before she was transported in grave condition to a local hospital, where she died of her injuries.”

Police say officers and investigators remained on scene, interviewed witnesses, and followed up on leads.

“At approximately 5:30 pm, Rodrigo Bravo (32) turned himself in at the Salinas Police Department where he was arrested and lodged in county jail for the murder of Eleni Tavau.”

Rodrigo Bravo is the father of Tavau’s young children, according to family members.

“He basically did it infront of them, so that’ll be one of the charges because the kids were present would be felony child endangerment,” Brian Johnson, a spokesman for the Salinas PD.

“Getting more details of what happened, what transpired at the location, why he was even there, that would wrap it up. But he did come in and turn himself in and said that he did do it.

Police say Bravo has also been charged with violation of probation and violation of a domestic violence restraining order. He has been booked into the Monterey County Jail and held on US$1 million bail.

From New Zealand, Eleni Tavau’s father has posted a viral video on social media, sharing his deep grief and regret for the passing of his precious daughter.  Tavau Junior Misikau says Eleni was his brother’s daughter but he raised her like his own since she was a child.

Grieving father posts a message from New Zealand.

“I used to carry her on my neck as we walked to school, and I’d wait there until she finished school before we head home..”

“When I worked at Samatic (in Samoa) I received $70 tala per week, and every payday, she would wait for me to buy her McDonalds,” reminisced her father.

“It really hurts my heart,” he says with tears. “My daughter has been killed by her partner.”

Tavau Junior Misikau goes on to share that his daughter had been asking for him to come to the US for a visit. “But I always say, how about you come here with the children.”

“Ua leva na fai mai si ou afafine ou te alu atu. E matua’i oona lenei mea. Pe ta te ita, pe ta te alu e sue le tagata na faia le mea e taui ma sui, ae o le tatou faamagalo lava.”

“I’m so sorry my darling daughter, I should listen to you all this time to come to America to visit you. It breaks my heart.. I’m coming for your children my pele..”

Eleni Tauvau’s brother, Alex Carr, has posted a GoFundMe page asking for help to send their sister home to Samoa.

“My sister Eleni Tavau was stabbed to death by her kids father. She left behind 3 beautiful children. Our goal is to give her a proper burial back home in Samoa. Any donations would help out a lot. Thank you & God Bless.”

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million cases 95% of those victims being women.

In Samoa a National Human Rights Institution nation-wide inquiry found that almost nine in 10 Samoan women have experienced physical or emotional violence at the hands of family members, with six out of 10 experiencing intimate partner violence.

One in five women surveyed say they have been raped by a family member or someone known to them. The Inquiry also revealed 33 per cent of women who are raped contemplate suicide, while 13 per cent attempt suicide.

Violence against women and girls is pervasive. The Pacific is not immune, with prevalence rates of violence against women and girls in most of the region’s countries much higher than the global average of 35 per cent.

Such violence takes several forms. It harms women and girls’ general well-being and impedes their full participation in society. Violence cripples families and adversely affects communities. The social and economic costs are enormous, from missed education and days at work, to long-term impacts on physical and mental well-being, and strained judicial systems to lost productivity.

If you or someone you know if suffering from Intimate Partner Violence, call Samoa Police Domestic Violence Unit on 22222 or the Samoa Victim Support Group’s free calling number: 800-7874.