Preethi Reddy’s ex-boyfriend is believed to have stabbed her and dumped her body in a suitcase. A day later, friends were sending him worried text messages.
As friends and family frantically tried to figure out why Preethi Reddy wasn’t returning their calls, one of her close friends turned their attention to the 32-year-old’s ex-boyfriend.
Police believe ex-boyfriend Harshwardhan Narde stabbed the dentist to death inside a Sydney CBD hotel room sometime after 11am on Sunday before stuffing her body into a large suitcase and driving it to Sydney’s east.
Police had questioned Dr Narde on Monday morning but, after being interviewed for hours, he was allowed to head back to his home in Tamworth.
That night Dr Narde died in a head-on collision with a truck near Tamworth in what police believe was a deliberate act.
Dr Reddy had been attending a dental convention at St Leonards over the weekend. Her ex-boyfriend had attended the same conference.
Dr Reddy was seen in a McDonald’s on George Street in the CBD about 2.15am Sunday and, according to police, she spoke with her family about 11am Sunday, saying she planned to head home after having a late breakfast.
Friends and family of Dr Reddy started to panic when they had not heard from her and even pushed Dr Narde on his ex-girlfriend’s whereabouts, questioning him via text message at 9.24pm Sunday.
In text messages obtained by the Daily Mail, one friend asked if he’d seen or heard from her.
“Hey, I spoke to her in person on Saturday evening … She said (she was going) home,” he replied in the text messages seen by the Mail.
And when the friend admitted they were “scared” Dr Reddy had been missing for so long, Dr Narde said he was too.
“I feel disturbed as well … am sitting at one place for the last 30 minutes,” he wrote.
Dr Reddy’s body was found with several stab wounds inside a suitcase in the boot of a parked car just after 9pm on Tuesday night in a laneway in Kingsford.
The Daily Telegraph reported police are looking through CCTV of Dr Narde at the Swissotel that showed him asking a hotel porter to help put a heavy suitcase into the boot of his car.
It’s understood police found the body of Dr Reddy in that same suitcase seen on the Swissotel CCTV.
Police would not confirm details with news.com.au but Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate said officers investigating the case were unsure where and when Dr Reddy was murdered but were working on the probability she was killed at the hotel.
“We are still working on the timeline of events and that’s why we need the public to come forward with any information they have,” Supt Dengate said.
‘THE HARDEST THING ANYONE CAN ENDURE’
Dr Reddy’s sister Nithya released a heartbreaking statement on behalf of her family.
“Words cannot capture the pain we are feeling with the passing of my beautiful big sister,” she said.
“Preethi was a bright light, loveable, kind, and protective of all whom were lucky enough to have been loved and cared for by her.
“Prior to this unthinkable event, she had been the happiest I’d ever seen her — she was living her best life.”
Nithya had started a Facebook Group called “Help find Preethi Reddy” in the days leading up to her death.
“On behalf of my family, I want to thank anyone who shared our appeals to find her, and those who provided information to the police and us over the last few days,” she wrote in the statement.
“While we now know that Preethi is no longer with us, the certainty of her movements on Saturday night and Sunday morning are not yet fully known, and we will stay in touch with detectives as they work it all out,” she said.
“Please respect that our family, particularly my parents and Preethi’s partner, (who) are going through the hardest thing that anyone can endure, and please respect that we need our privacy right now.
“We ask that everyone keep that in mind that we are grieving and we need space to do that.
“Finally, let the police do what they need to do to solve this horrific tragedy. Our family will never be the same without Preethi in our lives.
“Please let her beautiful soul rest in peace.”