Satyavathi Venna, 61, was babysitting her granddaughter Saanvi on the morning of Oct 22 when somebody took away the infant after murdering the former. Investigators suspect that Satyavathi was killed between 8 am and 1 pm local time.
However, they are not revealing how she was murdered or whether any suspects have been identified. The Philly Inquirer quoted Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman as saying, "We do not want to do anything that would jeopardise the child's safety."
Pointing out that "the search and rescue operation" is also underway and therefore "this is not a typical homicide investigation", the District Attorney said, "All of our resources are focused on finding Saanvi and reuniting her with her parents. The search for the child is intricately connected to the homicide investigation."
Saanvi is the daughter of Venkata Konda Siva Venna and Chenchu Latha Punuru. The couple moved from Andhra Pradesh to the US in Feb 2007. Before shifting to King of Prussia (Pennsylvania) in Jun 2012, they resided at San Antonio (Texas), Troy (Michigan) and Cleveland (Ohio).
Satyavathi had come on a six-month visiting visa and was slated to return to India in Jan next year.
The local police and the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) have announced a reward of 30,000 US dollars for information leading to Saanvi's safe return. Members of TANA held a candle-light vigil in memory of Satyavathi on Oct 23.
Since an Amber Child Abduction Alert has already been issued by Pennsylvania State Police, the family of Saanvi and the Telugu community is hoping that she will be found soon.
Saanvi's uncle Ram Venna sought everyone's help in finding the infant. "Please call the police if you have any information that can help in locating Saanvi. All the family is grieving my mother's tragic death and praying for the safe return of my niece Saanvi. I hope we can successfully locate Saanvi," Ram said.