The FBI is 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 stabbed bodies of Sasikala Narra, and her six-year-old son Anish, were found by Narra’s husband, Hanumantha Rao, on the evening on March 23. Rao told police he had been at a happy hour with friends from his office that evening, and came home to find his wife and son dead. The wife and son were found with stab wounds throughout their bodies. Anish had stab wounds on his hand, indicating he was attempting to fight back.
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.
India-West’s calls to Rao’s cell phone were answered by a cousin who sharply said the husband did not wish to discuss the matter.