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Saanvi Venna Murder: Suspect in Phila. grandmother, baby slayings had casino losses

This undated photo provided by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office shows Saanvi Venna. Authorities are searching for the 10-month-old girl, who disappeared after her grandmother was fatally beaten inside a suburban Philadelphia apartment. Police issued an Amber Alert for the Venna on Monday Oct. 22, 2012 following the discovery of her grandmotherâ AP Photo/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

Saanvi Venna
AP Photo/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

(CBS/AP) BRIDGEPORT, Pa. - Raghunandan Yandamuri, a neighbor charged with killing a 10-month-old girl and her grandmother during a botched kidnapping, told police he had lost $15,000 gambling at casinos the week before.

PICTURES: Philadephia infant found dead

A videotaped police statement given by the 26-year-old suspect last month was played at his preliminary hearing near Philadelphia on Wednesday.

In the video, Yandamuri tells police he had a good job and good life but planned the kidnapping to get money from the baby's parents, both software engineers.

"They both are working, so I thought maybe they have some money," Yandamuri told police.

Yandamuri says he never meant to hurt anyone and panicked on October 22 after the grandmother was killed in a struggle involving the knife he had brought.

He says he accidentally dropped the baby, put a handkerchief over her mouth to quiet her, and left her in a trash-strewn, unused sauna in their apartment complex.

When asked by police if he had a gambling problem, Yandamuri replied "a bit."

"Last week I lost $15,000 to $20,000, but last month I won $20,000," he said on the videotape.

He said he had cleared most of his debts through a March bankruptcy filing in California.

Those records show that Yandamuri had amassed $26,000 in credit card debts since 2008, most of it on six accounts he opened in 2011. He was making $6,500 a month at the time, and netting $4,500 after taxes and deductions, he said. He reported sending $600 a month to his parents in India.

Complete coverage of Saanvi Venna on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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