21 March 2022, Apia Samoa. Spencer Brown was last seen last Monday afternoon 14th March, when he was overheard by his younger sister yelling at someone on his mobile phone. He then told his sister he had to run an errand, and that he would be back. “Sei ou alu atu i la’u feau ou sau ai”. It would be the last time for Faasisina to see her older brother alive. Spencer’s body was found the next morning by one of their village neighbours on his inland plantations.
Spencer was born in Malie and had lived in the village all his life. He was the adored eldest brother in a family of six. Four of his siblings now all live abroad, while he and his sister, Faasisina (Sina), still live and work their family lands in Malie. At 46 he had remained unmarried all these years, and was the one who stayed at home to look after their late parents, Kuata and Pelema Brown.
Speaking to Samoa Global News from American Samoa, Louisiana USA and Salt Lake City Utah, Spencer’s siblings who work and live abroad, share their grave concerns with the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. Spencer was found on a koko tree, presented in a way that seemed to have been a suicide. However, his siblings say they know Spencer would never do such a thing and question the suspicious circumstances surrounding their brother’s death.
“His feet were touching the ground and the ie lavalava was only wrapped around once, I mean, he could have easily gotten out of that,” said Spencer’s youngest sibling Teuila Brown.
“The man who found him told us it looked like he was beaten, and then someone hung him from the koko tree.. The guy said there was a crack on his head, and injuries to his legs,” Teuila said.
Spencer’s family and cousins who had gone to see him at the hospital also questioned the lacerations on his head, and visible injuries to his legs. “That is why we have so many questions,” said Ms Brown, “and we just want justice for our brother if someone has done this to him..”
Spencer’s family have heard the detailed account of their neighbour, the villager who had found Spencer. “He told us he went to work on his land on Tuesday.. then he heard his dog barking at something but he didn’t take any notice of it, thinking the dog was barking at another animal.., but when he went to take a closer look, he found Spencer.. but our brother was already gone,” said Spencer’s sister.
According to his family and siblings, Spencer was a dedicated brother, who loved having company around, and never made enemies or caused trouble in the village. “Spencer was a happy person who loved everyone and anyone,” shares Teuila about her eldest sibling. “He was 46 years old, and he never got into trouble before.”
“If anyone has done this to him, we would like justice for our brother.. the hardest part for us siblings scattered around the world, is to be so far away at this time, and not be there to support our sister and cousins in Samoa..”
“But like the word says, ‘What is done in the dark, is brought into the light'”, said Teuila Brown.
A villager, Tauafao Ioane, told Samoa Global News they had come to know Spencer as someone who grew up in Vailoa, Malie. “He worked hard to serve his family. (“E galue malosi i le fatuaiga aua le tautuaina o lona aiga”).
The next eldest of the siblings, Mrs Mafi Lautele, speaking from American Samoa said it has been difficult because as siblings, they are very close, and their faith in God will carry them through if nobody is held responsible for Spencer’s death. “Our family is a family that loves everyone. We understand that such cases can be difficult to solve, but we will leave it in the hands of our Heavenly Father, He is our judge. We will pray and hope for answers.”
It is not yet known who Spencer had been talking to on the phone, just before he was last seen on Monday. His siblings say his phone has been handed over to the Police for their investigations.
Deputy Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo last week confirmed the matter was reported to Police last Tuesday 15th March, and an investigation by the department’s CID (Criminal Investigation Division) had been launched.
Spencer’s family call on anyone who may know anything about the circumstances leading up to their brother’s death, to please contact the Samoa Police Prisons and Corrections Services (SPPCS).