An act of revenge might have led to the death of a Provo man whose body was discovered in a burned out car in Juab County Wednesday morning.
Two Orem teens, who police say are related to the victim, are being held in Slate Canyon youth detention center in Provo.The 17-year-old girl, accompanied by her father, turned herself in to Orem police Wednesday night. Police later took her 15-year-old brother into custody after questioning him at home, said Provo Police Capt. Keith Teu-scher.
Authorities are saying little about how, when or where Samuela Pulupaki Loseli, 30, died. His body was taken to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.
"There are too many things that aren't coming together for us," Teuscher said Thursday.
Provo, Orem and Juab County detectives are trying to unravel a tangle of stories about how the married father of a 3-year-old daughter came to be found dead in the back seat of his Ford Taurus five miles west of I-15 near Mills.
A cattle rancher alerted the Juab County Sheriff's Office to the car, which appeared to have slid off a dirt road and into a fence, said Sheriff Dave Carter.
Deputies discovered Loseli's body slumped in the back seat of the car about 11:30 a.m. A fire, apparently ignited with gasoline, had scorched the inside of the closed vehicle, he said. Carter said it did not appear that Loseli burned to death.
"During our investigation, it was determined that the victim sustained life-threatening injuries to his head and that the car fire was deliberately set," Carter said. "The fire burned out because of a lack of oxygen."
Provo police have taken the lead on the investigation, suggesting the killing took place in Provo. Teuscher said investigators didn't find a weapon in Loseli's car. Loseli's assailant left the scene in another vehicle, he said.
"There are two cars involved. We're not sure who drove them," he said. Detectives are continuing to interview others, including relatives of the victim. Loseli's wife is a cousin to the two teen suspects' parents. Teuscher said police are looking into the possibility that the slaying was retaliatory.
A neighbor and lifelong friend of Loseli who didn't want her name used told the Deseret News the 17-year-old girl told her a relative victimized her in December.
"From my point of view, and I know Samuela really well, I don't think he would do that," the neighbor said.
When asked whether an assault occurred, Teuscher replied, "We don't know that."
Loseli left his Provo apartment sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday unbeknownst to his wife, who was asleep, Teuscher said.
He did not show up for work Wednesday at In The Paint Inc., a small T-shirt and uniform screen-printing shop in Provo, said owner Simon Keough. Keough called Loseli's home several times during the day but didn't get an answer.
"It was just not like him to not show up," he said.
Loseli's wife called a couple of times throughout the day looking for him, Keough said.
Keough described Loseli, who had accompanied him on a recent business trip to California, as "very, very nonconfrontational. He was definitely on the passive side."
The neighbor said Loseli recently served in the Elder's Quorum presidency of his LDS Church ward.
Loseli, who Keough said moved to Utah from Tonga about four years ago, was just a regular working guy trying to take care of his family and assimilate into a new culture. "Sam was honorable to the point that he didn't want to do anything wrong," he said.
Keough said it would be out character for Loseli to be violent.
Latina Loloheya, 17, and her 15-year-old brother are being held in the Provo detention center in connection with Loseli's death.
"She just came in and said she wanted to turn herself in for a homicide," said Orem Police Lt. Karl Hirst.
"As far as we know, they're regular normal kids. They have good school records," added Teuscher.