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The Post  
Saanvi Venna, 10-month-old girl, Upper Merion, Found Dead; Family Friend Arrested in Case
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 10/26/12 5:16 pm | updated: 10/27/12 4:37 am
There has been a tragic ending to the search for Saanvi Venna, the 10-month-old baby girl who went missing in King of Prussia. In a press conference this afternoon outside the Upper Merion Township building, the Montgomery County District Attorney's office announced that her body was found at about 4:30 am Friday in a sauna located a bathroom in the basement gymnasium of one of the apartment buildings on the Marquis Apartment complex.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman also announced that they made an arrest in the case for both the murder of Saanvi and her grandmother. The suspect, Raghunandan Yandamuri, was a friend of family. They have known each other since at least the summer when the Vennas moved to the area. Yandamuri also inserted himself in the search and rescue process including printing fliers and handing them out, offering support to the family, and even attending the candle light vigil on Wednesday.

The motive behind the crimes was an attempt to kidnap the child for ransom. He left 10 copies of a ransom note in the apartment asking for $50,000. He believed that Saanvi's parents had money since they both had work as software engineers. In the process of trying to take young Saanvi, he killed her Grandmother, stabbing her multiple times. Her autopsy report indicated she had both offensive and defensive wounds showing she tried to fight off the kidnapper. He eventually killed Saanvi, although the exact time is not yet known. It is believed he suffocated her with a handkerchief to keep her quiet before stuffing her in a suitcase. Exact details on how the little girl died will not be available until after an autopsy.

Raghunandan Yandamuri has been held without bail and allegedly confessed to the kidnapping and murders. He faces charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, theft and abuse of a corpse. He was led from the courtroom this afternoon wearing shackles and a bulletproof vest to the jeers of the large crowd gathered outside.

The ransom note (see below) had clues that led investigators to their suspect. The kidnapper addressed her parent's by their nicknames suggesting that it was a close friend or family member or wrote the letter. Her mother "Latha" and father "Siva" gave police a short list of those who would use those names. Yandamuri was on that list. Investigators began interviews, Yandamuri was brought in to Upper Merion police detectives on Thursday. He first offered no information, only that he had helped the search, but later he admitted his role in both deaths and led police to Saanvi's body.

Saanvi had been missing since her paternal grandmother was found murdered in their apartment on Monday at the Marquis Apartments at 251 West Dekalb Pike in King of Prussia. An Amber Alert had been issued and kept active for days as the community searched. 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna was babysitting the little girl at the time. Satyavathi had been visiting the family from her home in India since July and planned to return in January. Saanvi's parents, Venkata Venna and Chenchu Punuru, emigrated from India in 2007 and have previously lived in Texas, Michigan and Ohio before moving to their current Upper Merion home in June.

The FBI and multiple local and state agencies joined the search and abduction investigation. The FBI Special Evidence Response Team flew in their search bloodhounds from Quantico, VA, on Wednesday to assist with the search effort. Police conducted an intensive search and rescue operation looking in the neighborhoods, combing through the wooded areas behind the Marquis Apartments, handing out fliers, and interviewing family and neighbors.

Since this was an Amber Alert situation, the Upper Merion District Attorney's office had been reluctant to release details about the investigation that might jeopardize the safe return of Saanvi Venna. This included any information about the murder of her grandmother. DA Risa Ferman said that in the interest of Saanvi's security and safety, the public interest will have wait for those details. She talked about some of those details today including the fact that a ransom note was left in the apartment by the kidnapper and that Saanvi's mother did attempt to go to a location to meet the kidnapper with help from the authorities, but no one showed.

About 200 joined a candlelight vigil at Heuser Park in King of Prussia on Wednesday, all praying for the safe return of an innocent child. Similar vigils were held in Indian communities around the country.

The Citizens' Crime Commission of Delaware Valley, the Upper Merion Township Police Department, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, and the Telugu Association of North America, an Indian group, came together to offer a $50,000 reward for information which was the same amount as the ramson demanded by Yandamuri. It was increased from an initial amount of $30,000 after a day.

Part of the ransom note left by Raghunandan Yandamuri:

"Shiva your daughter has been kidnapped

If you report it to cops your daughter will be cut into pieces and found dead

If you inform this to anyone you will find your daughter body parts thrown into your apartments.

Prople (sic) are monitoring all your moves all the time

Your e-mails & phones are being traced"

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(1) response


 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 10/27 4:37 am
Raghunandan Yandamuri


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