NEW YORK: It’s almost three weeks since a software engineer from India, Sasikala Narra, and her six-year-old son, Anish Narra, were murdered by unidentified person(s) by brutally stabbing them repeatedly in the face, at their home in Fox Meadow Apartments, Maple Shade, New Jersey. No charges and no arrests have been made in the case that happened on March 23rd.
Apart from a short and ambiguous press release issued by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, on March 24, which said the double homicide was not a hate crime, no other details have been revealed.
Numerous calls by News India Times to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Hanumantha Rao Narra, the husband and father of the victims, was interrogated for several hours on multiple occasions. But, he is not charged with any crime.
According to sources, Narra, who works for Cognizant Technologies, in New Jersey, and found the bodies of his wife and son, and called 911 thereafter, has been living with a friend since the murders.
Rao was not barred from traveling to India for the cremation of his wife and burial of his son, but he didn’t go on his own volition, perhaps fearing that he would be arrested by local law police there or he might be attacked by the family and relatives of his wife, who have alleged that he was having an extramarital affair and was behind the murders.
A question to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office asking if the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been called in to help investigate the crime, got a noncommittal answer.
According to local community leaders who interacted with the police in the days following the double homicide, of Sasikala Narra and Anish Narra, there was no break-in, nothing was stolen from the apartment and there was no act of vandalism. Sources, however, didn’t know if there was sexual assault involved too. In all likelihood, it seems to be a case of premeditated murder.
Prasad Thotakura, former president of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), in an interview to News India Times, on April 11, said that it was important to keep up the pressure on local law enforcement personnel and also the US Justice Department by the Indian Embassy and the concerned Indian Consulate – in this case, the Indian Consulate in New York.
“The Indian Embassy and the Indian Consulate need to ask the US Justice Department for answers,” said Thotakura, who has helped in the logistics and fundraising to transport the bodies of Sasikala Narra and Anish Narra, to India. “There is only that much we (TANA) can do. Our hands are tied with a lot of other issues. The government of India needs to ask the questions and ensure that answers are given.”
According to Thotakura, the process of sending the bodies of Sasikala Narra and Anish Narra to India was an expensive one, with each body costing around $7,000, including cost for embalmment and flight ticket.
A spokesperson for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office told News India Times that the investigation was going on, and no details can be revealed at present. No answers were given to a question by this reporter if it seemed that the murderer(s) was somebody local or was an outsider, who came to do the heinous act.
Is it that the Maple Shade Police Department and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office are flummoxed by the crime? Is it that they have narrowed down their suspect or suspects and are gathering evidence to strengthen their case? Why did they make it clear that it was not a hate crime, the morning after the crime was discovered around 9 p.m.? Is it because they believe or of Indian-origin? Is it a crime of passion? Was the killer a man or a woman? Was more than one person involved in the brutal murders? Was it a random stranger who committed the crimes? Were Sasikala Narra or Anish Narra sexually assaulted? Was it a killer who had plenty of time to do his deed and then calmly walk out?
Questions continue to mount. Meanwhile, the killer(s) of Sasikala Narra and Anish Narra are out in the open somewhere, free.