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Late Salvation Army counselor repatriated to New Zealand

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 21/05/2020

The investigation into the alleged murder of Salvation Army counselor – Ned Cook, continues to New Zealand with the body of the deceased being repatriated today.

The Acting Deputy Police Commissioner – Tevita Vailea confirmed the post-mortem will be conducted in New Zealand under close cooperation between the Tonga Police and New Zealand Police as Cook was a New Zealand citizen.

The body is being repatriated under police authority and to be released the family once the post-mortem is completed. Vailea said the investigations in Tonga will continue.

Cook had moved back to Tonga to help the fight against drugs in the country as the head of the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Centre of the Salvation Army. Cook worked together with many related stakeholders in this movement to stop drug and alcohol abuse and to assist the youths of the nation struggling with addiction.

Cook had been a part of the Teu Ke Ama group together with Rev Semisi Kava and a number of other representatives from related stakeholders. Rev. Kava remembered Cook as an invaluable member of the team, who brought skills, experience, and the right mindset to address the issue of addiction in Tonga and that he had the courage to go to the root of the problem.

The late Salvation Army counselor was also a valuable partner of Tonga Police, with Vailea saying the biggest message from Cooks work is the sacrifice he made to commit to the fight against drugs here in Tonga, leaving his family in New Zealand, and ultimately losing his life, while trying to make a change in Tonga.

Ned Cook died at Vaiola on Sunday May 17th following an incident on Friday May 15th. Police have arrested a 19-year-old boy charged with Cook’s murder.

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