Divya Mandanapu was a conscientious worker who always showed up for her job at a Leesburg bank. So when she didn't come in last week, her co-workers began to worry.
Then Mandanapu's husband, Praveen, called the bank, according to court documents. He said that he had gotten into a fight with her over the weekend and that she vowed not to speak to him for two days. He said he hadn't seen her since and didn't know where she was.
Praveen Mandanapu's explanation apparently did not ease the concerns of bank workers, who called authorities June 16 to report Divya Mandanapu's disappearance. Investigators soon determined that a dismembered body found stuffed in a suitcase two days earlier in a South Riding dumpster was that of Divya Mandanapu, 28, and issued a warrant charging Praveen Mandanapu with murder.
Mandanapu, 32, of Ashburn, was arrested early last Thursday in Winchester and was being held without bond in the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, Loudoun sheriff's officials said. His phone call to the Leesburg bank was among several new details about the investigation into the brutal slaying that were revealed in court documents filed this week in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. Authorities filed the court papers in connection with searches at the couple's Ashburn duplex and at Praveen Mandanapu's office at a Herndon computer company.
Loudoun sheriff's spokesman Kraig Troxell declined to discuss a possible motive in the slaying and said the investigation was continuing.
Mandanapu's body was found about 11 a.m. June 14 by a maintenance man who was tossing trash into a dumpster at The Abbey apartment complex, sheriff's officials said. She was nearly beheaded, and parts of her arms and legs were missing, according to authorities and court documents.
Loudoun County Sheriff Stephen O. Simpson said a trash truck pulled in to empty the dumpster only about five minutes after the first deputy arrived. If not for the maintenance man, Simpson said, Mandanapu's body might have gone undiscovered.
When the body was found, the victim's identity was a mystery. Investigators only knew that the woman appeared to be Middle Eastern or Indian and had shoulder-length black hair. But when the call from the bank came the afternoon of June 16, authorities quickly determined that it was Divya Mandanapu.
About the time the bank alerted authorities, a Clarke County deputy stopped to help a driver who was slumped over his steering wheel in the median of eastbound Route 7, authorities said. The driver was taken to a local hospital.
That night, the deputy was watching the evening news when he saw a photo of Praveen Mandanapu and recognized him as the man he had helped. He contacted Loudoun authorities, who immediately headed to the Winchester hospital and interviewed Mandanapu.
According to court documents, deputies found two half-filled containers of cough medicine in Praveen Mandanapu's green Honda. A source said authorities were investigating whether Mandanapu may have tried to commit suicide or attempted to stage a suicide attempt.
On June 15, the documents say, Praveen Mandanapu called his employer and said that he had an "emergency regarding his wife" and that he was not able to come to work.