UPDATE: Orphaned at only 3½ years old, a North Arlington girl faces an uncertain and heartbreakingly difficult future.
Close family friends are working with the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency to help her grandparents in India get custody of little Viha Rudrawar.
They’ve also mounted a fundraising drive that continues to grow.
“In this immensely unfortunate moment, while we all get together to pray to the almighty to rest their souls in peace, we are also starting an effort to think for the future of the small child,” organizer Gobindsingh Nihalani wrote.
Nihalani said he and others close to the family are consulting an attorney and CPA to set up a trust fund for Viha.
After only three days, more than 2,000 people had donated nearly $125,000, as of Monday, toward a goal of $213,000.
SEE/DONATE: Contribute to Viha's future (Go Fund Me)
Meanwhile, authorities were still trying to determine exactly what happened last Wednesday at the family’s Riverview Garden apartment.
Viha’s grandfather, Bharat Rudrawar told the news agency Press Trust of India in Mumbai that a neighbor heard Viha crying and came to see what was wrong.
The neighbor looked through a mail slot and saw the bodies of Balaji Rudrawar, 32, and his wife, Aarti, 30, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.
Aarti Rudrawar was seven months pregnant with a boy, a source with direct knowledge of the incident told Daily Voice.
Both had been stabbed several times, apparently with the same knife, responders said.
Balaji Rudrawar had the most wounds – including defensive slashes on his hands and a stab to the abdomen, they said.
His wife’s injuries were far more severe, however.
“An investigation revealed that Aarti B. Rudrawar died as a result of multiple stab wounds inflicted by her husband,” said Musella, the prosecutor said.
Balaji Rudrawar “also died as a result of multiple stab wounds,“ the prosecutor added, “but his manner of death is undetermined pending the completion of an autopsy and investigation.
“At this time, no other individuals are believed to be involved,” Musella emphasized.
Musella was awaiting a determination by the Medical Examiner’s Office before officially characterizing Balaji Rudrawa’s death.
The couple were married in December 2014 and emigrated to the United States in August 2015. Balaji Rudrawar was an IT professional with a prominent company and his wife a homemaker, Viha’s grandfather said.
"I am not aware of any possible motive,” he told PTI from India last week. “They were a happy family and had lovely neighbors.”
Those neighbors, friend, family members and even strangers continue to pray.
“While nobody can ever fulfill the void in Viha's life, as friends and family, the least we can do is to come together and contribute our share towards the future of Viha,” Nihalani wrote. “No contribution is big or small."Please do whatever you can to help Viha. That will [be] some financial support for the future.”
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