The FBI has begun investigating the gruesome case of a Maple Shade, New Jersey, Indian American woman and her son, who were found murdered in their apartment last month. The IT professional and her seven-year-old son in the US were found murdered with their throats slit, prompting police to launch a criminal investigation into the brutal killing.
Sasikala, 40, and her son Anish Sai were found dead in their home in Burlington, New Jersey when her husband Narra Hanumanth Rao returned from work on March 23. Indian-American community leader and president of the non-profit Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC) Prasad Thotakura told PTI that according to the information he had, Rao allegedly found his wife and child “in a pool of blood” and “with their throats slit”.
Narra and Anish’s bodies were shipped backed to her home town in Vijayawada. Rao did not attend the funeral and moreover asked for funds from community groups to help ship the bodies home, until his employer Cognizant stepped in. Rao has been investigated by police, but has not been charged.
A woman’s voice can be heard in the background on the call Rao made to 911, which was released by police. In the recording, the woman can be heard telling Rao that his wife and son are dead, and not to go back into the room where the bodies were found.
Last week, the Burlington County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s office and the Maple Shade Police Department called in the FBI to assist with the investigation. The Indian media – based on interviews with Narra’s family in Vijayawada and a note the murdered woman wrote to her brother – have reported that Rao’s alleged affair with a co-worker at Cognizant, Deepa Ajith, may have played a role in the killings.
Narra allegedly found text messages between Rao and Ajith on her husband’s cell phone in 2012. When she confronted him about the missives, he told her there as nothing wrong in having an affair, according to the e-mail Narra sent her brother.
Narra had told her brother she was despondent about the future of her marriage and her relationship with Rao. The parents of Narra have also alleged that their son-in-law, N. Hanumantha Rao, may have been involved in the killings.
Retired teachers Sunkara Venkateswar Rao and Krishna Kumari, who stay at Tadigadapa in Vijayawada, alleged in various media reports that Rao had an affair with another woman and had been harassing Sasikala for five years. “Sasikala told me about his affair and took up the matter with her mother-in-law,” said Kumari in a media report.