Nearly a month after a Cary homicide sparked concerns through the local Indian community, police have not made any arrests, and friends of the victim are seeking answers.
Nalini Tellaprolu’s death was ruled a homicide last month by the State Medical Examiner’s Office after her son found her Dec. 17, in the garage of their west Cary home on Roland Glen Road.
“I know a lot of friends are concerned, and we’d all like to put this behind us,” said Cary resident Vijay Javvadi, a family friend. “I think unless there is a solid conclusive finding, we’ll all be in flux being concerned and afraid of what really happened.”
Cary Police Capt. Randall Rhyne, who is head of investigations, would not comment on whether there are any suspects. He also wouldn’t disclose a cause of death or reveal when an announcement might be made about the investigation.
“It is still an active investigation at this time,” Rhyne said.
The uncertainty surrounding the case prompted the Cary and Morrisville Police Departments, as well as local elected officials, to meet with members of the Indian community Dec. 22 at the Hindu Society of North Carolina’s main hall in Morrisville to tell residents that they don’t believe the Indian community is being targeted.
Meanwhile, Tellaprolu’s friends remember the 51-year-old woman as a fun-loving, caring and attentive mother.
Longtime friend Padma Tummala said Tellaprolu often spoke fondly of her daughter, Avani, and son, Arnav. She said she remembered when Tellaprolu told her how Arnav, who attends Green Hope High School, stayed up late working on homework. She would stay up with him to ensure he had plenty of snacks.
“She took part in every way in their life – in their studies, in their activities,” Tummala said. “She was a friend to them, and she was a guide to them. She supported them in every way.”
Tummala said Tellaprolu moved to Cary from Detroit in 2008 with her husband, Mahesh, and Arnav to be closer to Avani, who was attending the N.C. School of Math and Science. After moving to Cary, Tellaprolu and Tummala often spent time together at parties, on walks, at the beach and other activities with their group of friends.
The last time Javvadi saw her, she was dancing at a festival attended by close friends.
“She was lively, very enthusiastic,” he said. “She was out there dancing with the rest of us. Very jovial, fun-loving character.”
Friends said Tellaprolu loved to cook and described her as always willing to lend a helping hand. She worked at Duke University Health System as a testing coordinator and QA team lead and also served on the board of directors for the Triangle Area Telugu Association, a nonprofit that seeks to promote southeastern Indian culture.
In the days after Tellaprolu’s death, the mood in the Upchurch Farms subdivision off Waldo Rood Boulevard shifted. Weeks have past, and neighbors don’t want to talk about the homicide.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said law enforcement vehicles were outside Tellaprolu’s home for several days after her body was found.
“It was pandemonium for many days,” the resident said.
Those in the Indian community felt many of those concerns, and not all felt reassured after the meeting with the police departments.
“I think people are still worried,” said Sakti Singh, a Cary resident who attended the meeting.
“We do see that things are happening more often, you know, during Indian festival season like Diwali and other times,” Singh said. “People are talking about that this is happening, and people are buying security cameras.”
Javvadi said he hopes the investigation provides closure and answers many of the questions friends are asking, including how and why their loved one died.
Tummala still gets choked up talking about her longtime friend and hopes the investigation isn’t the last memory people have of Tellaprolu.
“She should be remembered as beautiful, loving,” Tummala said. “She uplifts the environment when she is around, and she is a very happy person. We miss her really, dearly, in every group meeting, every gathering. Cary could never been the same hereafter.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon