Two men accused of luring, killing Tacoma mother of 7

Law enforcement identified two men accused of killing a mother of seven in Tacoma last year.

According to court documents, defendants Apelu Tauanuu and Muhammad Salanoa are believed to have murdered Ngaire Tusi on December 18, 2023.

Tacoma Police responded to a report of a body lying on the ground with blood around it near a gazebo on S. Madison Street near S. 31st Street.


Mom of 7 shot to death in Tacoma park identified, killer still on the loose

A mother of seven was found dead in a Tacoma park, and police are trying to find the person or people who killed her.

Officers arrived around 8:35 a.m. and found Tusi's body with a gunshot wound to her head. Police noted that she was fully dressed and had an ankle monitor on her foot with foil around it.

Court documents state Tusi's phone had a contact for "APE" in it, who was identified as Apelu Tauanuu.

Detectives learned that the victim was associated with a "Samoan based" group that was connected to James Salanoa, who was killed by police while being wanted for a kidnapping, rape, and robbery that took place in Tacoma on November 18, 2023.


Detectives believe Tusi was accused of being a "snitch" and providing information to police about Salanoa, as she and Salanoa had many mutual friends, like Muhammad Salanoa, who is James Salanoa's uncle.

Detectives identified multiple cars tied to the crime scene, including a Lincoln Town car associated with Muhammad Salanoa, and a Black Lexus associated with Tauanuu. Police linked the suspects to the crime scene using these vehicles, as they were spotted on a surveillance camera at the park where the murder happened.

Tauanuu is believed to have picked up Tusi from a house frequented by the group and took her to the park where she was shot and killed, according to court documents.

Muhammad Salanoa appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty. He had his bail set at $2 million.