Abducted baby found dead, family friend held in ransom plot

Raghunanean Yaneadamuri
Raghunanean Yaneadamuri
Posted: October 26, 2012

The body of a missing 10-month-old child has been found at the King of Prussia apartment complex where she was snatched as her grandmother tried to save her life, authorities said today.

The body of Saanvi Venna was discovered at 4:30 a.m. in a basement area of the apartment building, said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman.

Police arrested Raghunanean Yandamuri, a family friend, who they said had sought a $50,000 ransom.

Yandamuri, who lives in the same Marquis apartments complex, left a chilling ransom note. Ten copies of the note were scattered around the room where the grandmother was killed and the baby taken, authorities said.

The note read:

"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"

Saanvi was abducted Tuesday after her grandmother Satayvathi Venna, 61, was killed in the apartment by "incised wounds to the neck and chest," authorities said, without elaboration.

Ever since, the hunt was on for Saanvi's abductor. Her case gained national and international attention as the search grew.

"We are here unfortunately to report tragic news," Ferman said outside the Upper Merion Police Station. "At 4:30 this morning the body of Saanvi Venna was found."

Ferman gave the following details:

Yandamuri had known the Venna family since the summer and believed Saanvi's parents, both software engineers, had money. He lived in a basement apartment. The Venna's lived on the sixth floor.

Yandamuri entered the Venna apartment with the intent of kidnapping the child. But Ferman said she did not believe he was intent on killing anyone, Ferman said.

The grandmother struggled with the kidnapper. She had "offensive" and "defensive" wounds suffered from a knife while trying to protect the baby.

According to the affidavit, the kidnapper put a gag inside the Saanvi's mouth, wrapped her in a towel, then stowed her in a suitcase.

Saanvi's body was found in the sauna at the apartment complex.

"He was living at the Marquis apartment complex," Ferman said of Yandamuri, and, "knew the family through the Indian community."

At one point while the girl was still missing, Saanvi's mother went to a meeting place determined by the kidnapper, but no one showed.

On Thursday, the reward for her return rose from $30,000 to $50,000 as the investigation into the murder and abduction continued.

A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night by the Telugu Association at Heuser Park in King of Prussia to raise more money and awareness about the abduction. The event drew more than 200 and was broadcast to audiences worldwide.

Vigils were also planned in Troy, Mich.; Dallas; Atlanta; and Bridgewater, N.J., all cities with large Indian communities.

The body of Saanvi's grandmother, meanwhile, will be transported to India by family. There, she will have a traditional Hindu funeral. She had arrived from India for a visit in July and was scheduled to return home in January.


Contact Mari A. Schaeffer

at 610-892-9149, mschaefer@phillynews.com or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

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