17-year-old Arnav Uppalapati has been charged with killing his mother, 51-year-old Nalini Tellaprolu on Dec. 17, 2015 in Cary, NC. He reported finding her body in the garage upon returning home from school, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. They report that she was found with a plastic bag over her head and may have been beaten, the autopsy found.
Padma Tummala, a close friend of the decedent, told the newspaper that Tellaprolu adored her son, staying up late to serve him snacks as he did his homework.
“We’re shocked as a community,” Tummala said in a Friday interview. “This was not something we expected to hear. She focused all of her energy on her kids.” Tellaprolu was a testing coordinator for the Duke Medical Center. The family had moved from Detroit to Cary, NC to be closer to their daughter. Her husband was away on a business trip when she was murdered.
The incident was a blow to the Wake County Indian community. “It’s very devastating,” said Morrisville Town Councilman Satish Garimella. “There’s never been an incident where a son has taken the life of his own biological mother.”
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said that the teen was a person of interest from the beginning, because there were no signs of forcible entry to the house.
Uppalapati told the police that he had last seen his mother at dinner the previous evening. He claimed that he did schoolwork alone, went to bed, and went to school the next morning. He is a senior at Good Hope High School, and was recently named to the 2017 North Carolina All-State Band.
It is not known at this time what evidence led police to the arrest, or what Uppalapati’s motive may have been.
The Raleigh News & Observer, the Associated Press, and Fox News contributed to this report.