Police: Pa. baby abducted after grandmother killed

October 23, 2012 - 5:33 PM
Grandmother Killed Missing Baby

In this undated photo provided by the Upper Merion (Pa.) Township Police Department, Satyavathi Venna holds her granddaughter, Saanvi Venna. Police issued an Amber Alert for the 10-month-old girl on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, following the discovery of Satyavathi Venna's body at the Marquis Apartments in King of Prussia, Pa. Investigators did not immediately release details on the death of the girl's 61-year-old grandmother. (AP Photo/Upper Merion Township Police Department)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (AP) — Authorities searched Tuesday for a 10-month-old girl who was declared missing after her grandmother, who was baby-sitting her, was found slain inside the family's apartment in a Philadelphia suburb.

Investigators are focusing on reuniting Saanvi Venna with her parents in two probes that are "intricately connected," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Investigators did not immediately release details on the death of the girl's grandmother, 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna. Ferman would not say how the woman was killed or whether there were any suspects, but investigators believe the abduction occurred sometime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday.

"All of our resources are focused on finding Saanvi and reuniting her with her parents," Ferman said in an interview. "The search for the child is intricately connected to the homicide investigation."

Police issued an Amber alert for Saanvi on Monday following the discovery of her paternal grandmother's body at the Marquis Apartments in King of Prussia, about 15 miles west of Philadelphia. Later in the night, the girl's father issued a tearful plea for his baby's return.

Upper Merion Township police said the girl's father, Venkata Konda Siva Venna, and mother, Chenchu Latha Punuru, immigrated to the U.S. from India in February 2007. The couple lived in San Antonio, Cleveland and Troy, Mich., before moving to the Philadelphia-area apartment complex in June.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County authorities canvassed the apartment complex in search of clues.

The grandmother had arrived in July and was scheduled to return home in January, police said. At the time she was killed and the child was abducted, the woman had been baby-sitting the child, police said.

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

"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.

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.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation, said Frank Burton, a spokesman for the agency's Philadelphia office.