Search continues for missing King of Prussia baby

Upper Merion police (above, left) leave the crime scene in King of Prussia where Satayvathi Venna (above, right) was slain and baby Saanvi Venna was taken.
Upper Merion police (above, left) leave the crime scene in King of Prussia where Satayvathi Venna (above, right) was slain and baby Saanvi Venna was taken. (LEFT PHOTO: ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: October 25, 2012

WHERE IS baby Saanvi?

One day after police discovered the body of her murdered grandmother in the family's King of Prussia high-rise apartment, authorities continued their desperate search for the child, who has been missing since the Monday murder and is presumed kidnapped.

Relatives said that thugs had no reason to target their family.

"We don't have any suspicion of anything, no threats on anyone," the girl's uncle Ram Venna told reporters Tuesday morning outside the Upper Merion Township Police Department, where the family spent the day with investigators.

"Bring the girl back to the parents," Ram Venna implored.

Ten-month-old Saanvi Venna was in her grandmother's care Monday when someone entered their sixth-floor home in the Marquis Apartments, on Dekalb Pike near Kings Circle, and killed grandmother Satayvathi Venna, 61. Authorities say that the attack happened between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Pennsylvania State Police issued an Amber Alert, and the FBI has joined the investigation.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said that Satayvathi Venna, Saanvi's paternal grandmother, was visiting from India, midway through a planned six-month stay. The family is from the southern part of the country, near Hyderabad, friends said.

The baby's father, Venkata Konda Siva Venna, and mother, Chenchu Latha Punuru, had lived in King of Prussia with Saanvi only since June, Ferman said. After emigrating from India in February 2007, the family lived in San Antonio, Texas; Troy, Mich.; and Cleveland, before landing in suburban Philly, she added.

Now, investigators need the public's help in identifying "any person with a motive to harm any member of the Venna family," Ferman said.

Investigators handed out fliers outside the family's apartment Tuesday. They urged tipsters to call Upper Merion police at 610-265-3232 or Montgomery County Detectives at 610-278-3368. Saanvi was wearing jewelry and a white dress with pink flowers when abducted.

Just three days ago, the family seemingly had no enemies.

Venkata Venna posted a photo of himself on Facebook, smiling from the driver's seat of a red sports car at a car show. Another photo posted Sunday shows him in suit and tie with gussied-up friends at a fancy restaurant. Photos of his cherubic daughter snuggling with giant teddy bears and smiling in Indian dresses outnumber all others.

Friends said that the couple work as software engineers and that Satayvathi Venna was the baby's doting babysitter.

"There are lots of Indians living there; it's a gated community, and you need a code to enter, so security is very good there," said Madhava Mosarla, of the American Telagu Association, who knows the family and owns an Indian grocery store and two restaurants in the area. "Our local community is terrified. This is so unbelievable in this area, a scary situation."


Contact Dana DiFilippo at difilid@phillynews.com or 215-854-5934.

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