CRIME
01/29/2014 12:35 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2014

Death Of Wrestler Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka's Girlfriend Will Get Its First Court Hearing In 30 Years

Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka was on his way to becoming one of the most popular pro wrestlers in 1983 when he found his girlfriend gasping for air and oozing yellow fluid from her mouth and nose in their Pennsylvania motel room.

Nancy Argentino died soon after that and despite evidence of a struggle, no one was ever charged. That might change as prosecutors announced on Tuesday that a grand jury will review the case which has long cast suspicion on Snuka.

Snuka allegedly told a police officer who arrived following the emergency call that he and his 23-year-old mistress "were fooling around" outside their Whitehall room. She fell and hit her head after Snuka pushed her, according to case documents obtained by investigative reporters from the Allentown Morning Call.

But at the hospital, where doctors unsuccessfully tried to save Argentino's life, the Morning Call's investigation charged that Snuka told inconsistent versions of what happened.

  • Two ER employees told police that Snuka, known for his Tarzan-like persona in the ring, admitted that he pushed her during an argument.
  • The emergency room doctor said Snuka told him that Argentino "was pushed and fell backwards and struck her head" while they fooled around.
  • A hospital chaplain said the Fiji-born wrestler told her that he was horsing around with his girlfriend during a bathroom break on their way to town. He shoved Argentino with his forearm and she fell backward, hitting her head on concrete.

In the account that Snuka subsequently told authorities -- and the version he has clung to for 30 years -- Argentino fell and slammed her head after peeing on the side of a highway.

The autopsy report, however, found bruises and dozens of cuts on Argentino's body but no gravel or dirt.

When Argentino died, Snuka was married to another woman. In his 2012 autobiography, he called Argentino his "East Coast girlfriend."

Investigators named Snuka a person of interest, but the case went cold.

The Argentino family won a $500,000 wrongful death lawsuit against Snuka in 1985, but the popular high-flying wrestler never paid a cent.

Though the criminal case remained open, there was no apparent progress until the Morning Call's thorough review. Weeks later, the Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin assigned a deputy to take a fresh look at the case.

And on Jan. 25, Martin revealed that he will present the case to a grand jury.

"I'm a firm believer that God sees everything," Nancy's sister Louise Argentino-Upham told Lehigh Valley Live. "I pray that the the truth is going to come out."

Snuka is now 70 years old and lives in New Jersey.

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