An Indian American software engineer and her young son were found dead in their Maple Shade, New Jersey, home, in what police are saying is not a hate crime. Sasikala Narra, 38, and her son Anish, 6, were found by Narra’s, husband N. Hanumantha Rao, in the bedroom of their home on March 23rd. An autopsy was conducted later on March 24 to identify the murderer.
Bewley said he could not reveal whether there was evidence of forced entry. He also would not state if the husband, Hanumantha Rao, was a person of interest in the ongoing investigation. “No charges have been filed. We’re investigating multiple people at this time, including the neighbors,” he said.
Bewley emphatically stated that the case was not a hate crime. “We have no reason to believe that this is a hate crime based on Indian origin,” he said, adding that that theory was developed early on, and he wanted to dispel that line of thinking. Asked what evidence the police had to prove the fatal stabbings were not motivated by hate, Bewley said simply: “We’re still investigating these crimes.”
Indian-American community leader Prasad Thotakura claimed that Mr Rao allegedly found his wife and child “in a pool of blood” and “with their throats slit”. But in India, Ms Sasikala’s mother, Krishna Kumari, told news agency ANI: “We suspect that they have been murdered following an affair of my son-in-law with another woman there.”
Rao and Sasikala both were software professionals and had lived in the US for 12 years. She worked from home and reportedly picked up her son from school last afternoon before they headed home.
The killing was raised in the Indian Parliament last week. “This is a serious matter. This is very dangerous. Just two weeks back, two Indians were killed and now two more people have been killed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take (it) up with the President of America,” said Congress Rajya Sabha member T Subbarami Reddy.Hanumantha Rao – also known as Hanu Narra – had not returned India-West’s calls by press time.
Mohan Nannapaneni, president of the Telugu Association of North America and a friend of the family, told India-West he had spoken to Narra on the morning after the gruesome incident. Narra is a life member of TANA and volunteers with the organization’s crisis services program, known as TEAM Square. “Hanu is in a state of trauma,” said Nannapaneni.
TANA is making arrangements to send the bodies of Sasikala and her son back to a town near Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The organization is not collecting funds to transport the bodies back to India, as the family has not requested financial help. Sasikala Narra and her husband had lived in the U.S. for about nine years. Anish was born in the U.S.