Raghunandan "Raghu" Yandamuri had lost $15,000 at a casino the week before and owed a friend who had helped pay for his wedding in addition to other debts. Yandamuri decided to kidnap his King of Prussia, Pa., neighbors' baby and hold her for ransom, figuring the child's two software engineer parents would pay enough for him to get out of debt, testimony at a preliminary court hearing indicated Thursday.
When Yandamuri, 26, knocked on his neighbor's door brandishing a kitchen knife, he panicked and slashed baby Saanvi Venna's grandmother Satyavathi to death when she tried to stop him, The Philadelphia Daily News said. He later smothered the child when she wouldn't stop crying, detectives said in court.
"I don't have any plans to harm the baby or the grandmother. I just want to ask them for money," Yandamuri told detectives in a recorded conversation played in court Wednesday.
The 23-minute conversation includes a confession to killing the grandmother Oct. 22.
After the altercation with the grandmother, Yandamuri said he tried quieting the baby by putting a handkerchief in her mouth and wrapping a towel around her head. He then put her in a suitcase and took her to an unused sauna in the basement of the apartment building he and his neighbors shared. When he returned hours later, she was dead, he told police.