Missing Montgomery Co. baby, Saanvi Venna, found dead

October 26, 2012 3:10:44 PM PDT
The body of a missing baby from Montgomery County has been found and a family friend is accused of the murder.

The body of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna was discovered around 4:30 a.m. Friday in a basement bathroom sauna at the Marquis Apartments in Upper Merion.

26-year-old Raghu Yandamur, a family friend, has been arrested and charged.

"I'm not the one," said Yandamuri as he walked into court Friday. Yandamuri says he's not the one, but police say he confessed to the heinous crime late Thursday.

Authorities say Yandamuri went to the Venna family apartment on Monday and barged in with a knife.

The child's grandmother- 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna opened the door and police say she was killed during the kidnapping.

"The grandmother died trying to save her granddaughter's life, trying to prevent her from being taken," said Risa Ferman, Montgomery County District Attorney.

Shortly after, authorities say that's when Yandamur left with baby Saanvi.

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

Investigators say Yandamuri hid the baby's body under a bench in the apartment complex fitness center.

Authorities also say he left ten copies of a ransom note at the Vennas' apartment, demanding $50,000.

The police worked closely with the family as they tried to comply.

"We had cooperation from Mrs. Venna who actually went to a location that was designated, hoping someone would arrive but no one did," said Ferman.

By then, baby Saanvi was already dead. While investigators searched for the child, the Venna family had the support of a large community - among them was Yandamuri himself.

He attended the Wednesday night vigil for baby Saanvi, printed up reward posters, and went to the police station to be with the family.

"That's even more devastating for us to know it was one of our very own that has actually contributed to this act of evil" said Subash Karra, family friend.

After his court appearance, an angry mob yelled obscenities as Yandamuri's wife wept in the parking lot.

Police say after he confessed Yandamuri asked them to lie to the media, asking them to say his wife turned him in so she could collect the reward money.

Meanwhile, Yandamuri is being held without bail after being arraigned on murder and kidnapping charges.


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