Baby Abducted, Grandmother Found Dead in Upper Merion

A woman is dead and her infant granddaughter missing after a homicide and abduction at an Upper Merion apartment, according to police.

By David Chang and Jackie Gailey
|  Thursday, Oct 25, 2012  |  Updated 7:13 PM EDT
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Another vigil is being held Wednesday night for missing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna. Police say the baby was taken from her Montgomery County apartment and her grandmother was found murdered. There is a $50,000 reward for the safe return of the baby. NBC10's Deanna Durante reports.

NBC10 Philadelphia - Deanna Durante

Another vigil is being held Wednesday night for missing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna. Police say the baby was taken from her Montgomery County apartment and her grandmother was found murdered. There is a $50,000 reward for the safe return of the baby. NBC10's Deanna Durante reports.

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Hundreds Pray For Missing 10-Month-Old

More than 200 people gathered for a candle light vigil in King Of Prussia, PA, Wednesday night. They're praying for the safe return of baby Saanvi Venna. The 10-month-old was kidnapped after her grandmother's murder on Monday. NBC10's Claudia Rivero was at the vigil, and talked to neighbors who are stunned this could happen so close to home.

Specialized K-9's Aid Search for Abducted Baby

Police announced on Wednesday that they are offering a $30,000 reward for the safe return of missing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna. Two specialized K-9's have been flown in from FBI Headquarters to aid the search. NBC10's Deanna Durante reports.
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The reward for information leading to the safe return of 10-month-old Saanvi Venna increased on Thursday from $30,000 to $50,000.

Officials say since a reward was announced by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman on Wednesday, tips have been pouring in, but none have led to Saanvi. The infant was abducted from an Upper Merion apartment building on Monday.

Venna's grandmother, Satyavathi Venna, 61, who was babysitting the infant was murdered inside the family's home at the Marquis Apartment complex on the 200 block of West Dekalb Pike.

Three K-9 units were searching the area between the apartment building and the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Wednesday.

Investigators issued an Amber Alert just before 5 p.m. on Monday after the child's father and the murder victim's son, Venkata Konda Siva Venna, found the woman's body and realized his daughter was missing.

Police say Venna left work to check on the pair after receiving a call from a worried relative who was unable to reach them.

Credit: Family Photo

Police described Venna as an Asian-Indian female, standing 2-foot-6 and weighing 21 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white dress with pink flowers and wearing unknown jewelry.

On Tuesday, investigators canvassed the apartment complex and drained the swimming pool in search of clues.

"Please don't do any harm to the kid," said Vasu Velaga, a neighbor of the family. "Please release her immediately. Please inform the police."

The infant's father spoke Monday night during a press conference.

"If someone finds my baby could you please bring my baby back?" Venna pleaded. "Don't do any harm to my baby."

Family members speaking on behalf of Saanvi's parents pleaded for her return as they gathered at the Upper Merion Township Police Department on Tuesday.

``Bring the girl back to the parents,'' said Ram Venna, 36, the girl's uncle, who had flown in from his home in San Jose, Calif.

"We are pleading for everyone's help in finding my 10-month-old niece. Please call the police if you have any information that can help locate Saanvi. All of the family is grieving my mother's tragic death and praying for the safe return of my niece Saanvi," said Rem Venna.

Madhukar Sanikommu, 42, of Warren, N.J., a cousin of Saanvi's father, said the family was trying to hold onto hope that the girl would be found.

``We're all devastated right now,'' Sanikommu said.

Police say Satyavathi Venna arrived in the United States from India in July 2012 and was planning to return home in January 2013.

The child's mother, Chenchu Latha Punuru, was at work when Venna was murdered and the child was taken, according to police.

The Citizen's Crime Commission of Delaware Valley will be administering the reward posted by Upper Merion Township Police, The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and the Teluga Association of North America.

If you have any information on the abduction, please call 215-546-TIPS.
 

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