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Family fight ends with Uncle arrested and charged with child abuse

TCF Territorial Correctional Facility sign

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who allegedly assaulted his 17-year-old nephew was arrested and charged.

Tanielu Tuli made his initial appearance in Court last week.

He is charged with one count of abuse of a child, a class D felony; along with one count of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of 3rd degree assault, both class A misdemeanors.

Bail is set at $5,000.


On the afternoon of Feb. 14th, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a 17-year old male stating that he had been physically assaulted by his uncle Tanielu Tuli, the defendant in this matter, at their residence hear the Iliili Gofl-Course. Several police officers responded to the call and met with the young male who reported the matter.

Police arrived at the area and started to gather information about what actually happened. They also interviewed those involved in this matter, including the victim, his father and a neighbor.

According to the victim’s statement to police, his uncle (defendant), his father and the neighbor started yelling and swearing while tossing food and glass plates inside the kitchen after the uncle was unsatisfied with the food the victim’s father had made.

The victim had then said that his uncle (defendant) approached him and started to verbally and physically assault him by punching him facial area with a fist and pushed him. The victim blocked some of the punches by using his hands to cover his face still got punched near his neck area.

The defendant then went into his room to grab a wooden baseball bat and verbally threatened to kill the victim using the baseball bat. The victim then ran outside the house and saw the defendant walking towards the public road stating that when he came back, he is going to kill his nephew (victim).

Police interviewed the neighbor about this matter where he stated that he had seen everything form outside and stated that the defendant physically assaulted his nephew (victim) and made unreasonable noises — and this has been an ongoing thing.

The neighbor told investigators that the defendant punched the victim in the facial area, pushed him and tried to choke him. The victim tried to push the defendant away in an effort to run away but the defendant continued to assault him by pushing him down and punching him in the face and back.

The victim had been asked several times by investigators if he needed some medical assistance but he refused further assistance. The investigators were told that the defendant had left the house a few minutes before they had arrived at the scene and was heading towards the public road.

Officers then proceed to leave the scene to locate the defendant. When approaching the public road, the defendant was observed sitting at the bus-stop. The defendant was then placed in cuffs one hour after the incident and was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for further investigation.

The defendant was Mirandized and refused to make a statement.