No arrests yet in the 2020 murder of Tongan woman in the US

It’s been over one year since the body of Akosita Kaufusi was found near the Great Saltair in far western Salt Lake County in the US.

Salt Lake Investigators discovered 42-year-old Kaufusi had been shot on August 2020.

Police have treated the suspicious death as a homicide.

Kaufusi’s body was discovered by a jogger about a half mile east of Saltair near an I-80 frontage road. She had been deceased “at least several days,” reports said.

Her family has raised concerns about the case.

“Nothing,” Makalita Ofa, her aunt, said. “Nothing at all”, reported

Ofa was frustrated seeing the resources dedicated to finding Gabby Petito, and the worldwide attention that was drawn for the white 22-year-old.

“It’s awful what happened to her,” Ofa said. “I just think the attention needs to be on everyone.”

Ofa has been raising awareness around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls ever since she experienced it firsthand.

Every four out of five Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetime, according to the Urban Indian Health Institute. On top of that, Indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than all other ethnicities, according to the National Institute of Justice.

“It’s an epidemic,” Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said.

Romero is leading a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ task force and trying to secure $130,000 in state funding to collect updated data in the state, expand preventative education, and explore jurisdiction handlings on these cases.

Ofa thinks there is a dire need to help Indigenous women, and just all women of color in general that experience disproportionate rates of abuse.

“I know that the tribal lands are very skeptical of others coming into their community. There is just a lack of trust, but I think it is time to build that bridge,” Ofa said. “That is the only way we are going to solve this.”

Anyone with information that leads to an arrest in the murder of Akosita Kaufusi could receive a reward of up to $5,000.


Photo Garna Mejia, KSL-TV   Caption: The family of Akosita Kaufusi is raising awareness around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.