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Missing 10-month-old, Saanvi Venna, found dead; Family friend, Raghunandan Yandamuri, accused

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 25 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 26 2012 05:58:03 PM CDT

Ten-month-old Saanvi Venna, who disappeared from her family's apartment in King of Prussia earlier this week, has been found dead.

Ten-month-old Saanvi Venna, who disappeared from her family's apartment in King of Prussia earlier this week, has been found dead. Authorities say the man responsible is a neighbor who knew the family and even helped search for the missing baby.

Raghunandan Yandamuri, 26, was arraigned Friday afternoon for the death of Saanvi and her grandmother Satyavathi Venna. He faces more than a dozen charges including murder, kidnapping, robbery and abuse of a corpse.

"At 4:30 this morning the body of Saanvi Venna was found," said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. "Was found hidden inside of a sauna in a basement bathroom in the gymnasium of one of the Marquis Apartment Buildings."

Ferman says Yandamuri lived in the Marquis Apartment complex with his wife. He was acquainted with the Vennas through the Indian community and knew the family since they moved into the Upper Merion Twp., Montgomery Co. apartments in June.

"This was an attempt to kidnap the child and hold her for ransom," said Ferman. "He believed that the Vennas were of sufficient means, that they would be able to pay that ransom."

Investigators found ten copies of an identical ransom note inside the family's apartment demanding $50,000.

Ferman says 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna had been stabbed to death in a fight to save the 10-month-old she was babysitting. According to authorities she died of knife wounds to her neck and chest and had defensive wounds on her arms.

"He then left the apartment building with the child suffocated with a handkerchief in her mouth and stuffed into a suitcase," added Ferman.

Since the baby went missing Monday there had been an intense search to find her. Investigators say Yandamuri pitched in by printing fliers and handing them out.

"Someone who offered support, came to this police station during the course of the search and actually attended the vigil in memory of Mrs. Venna and looking for Saanvi," said Ferman.

The whole time the family fully cooperated with police, and a $50,000 reward was offered for Saanvi's safe return. They had no idea it was too late.

"Unfortunately it appears from everything we know that their child had already passed away," explained Ferman.

She says it's unclear when Saanvi was killed.

"Over the past few days we had been very hopeful that Saanvi was still alive."

Yandamuri is a native of India and according to one website was just married in April. Authorities believe he acted alone. Yandamuri is being held without bail and is due back in court November 2nd.