AP girl murder: US cops recover gun

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New York, Sep 19: A new development was reported in Soumya Reddy murder case in United States. Police in St Louis County, Missouri, and the Missouri Water Patrol have recovered a gun, said to be the weapon used to shoot the two cousins from Andhra Pradesh.

The gun was retrieved from the Sunfish lake near the secluded boat launch parking area in the Spanish Lake Park on Wednesday, Sep 17 by the Missouri water patrolling team and the St Louis police personnel. This is close to a deserted area in Spanish Lake Park where Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville student Soumya Tummala (22) and her cousin Vikram Tummala (27) died. Both of them hailed from Hyderabad.

Soumya was an electrical engineering student, who had lived in the US for about a year and Vikram for about six years as a software engineer. Soumya was found early on Saturday, Sep 13 morning shot to death. The St Louis County medical examiner's office completed autopsies on both the bodies, but the results have not yet been released.

Police said, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, ballistics testing would need to be done to evaluate whether the gun was the same used in the killings of Soumya and Vikram both based in Maryville, Illinois. Investigators, the newspaper said, believed that it was the weapon used in the deaths.

Investigators said the deaths were an isolated incident involving only the two relatives. The details of who shot whom have not yet been stated, but police were optimistic that no one was directly involved in the incident.

''She was a very good student, a very diligent student,'' an unidentified relative was quoted as saying by the newspaper. ''I don't know exactly what happened.'' Joggers on Saturday morning saw Soumya slumped in the passenger seat of a car registered on Vikram's name, according to the police.

''What we're trying to find out now is why these two individuals from Maryville, Illinois, were up in such a remote area of St Louis County,'' police spokesman Rick Eckhard said, the newspaper reported.

This was not the first time students from Andhra Pradesh were targeted. At least seven AP students based abroad have died over the past 10 months and according to other news reports, the students should not have been at the respective locations when their deaths occurred.

According to the reports, an estimated 20,000 AP students go annually to the US and the UK.

UNI

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