Indian couple found dead in New Jersey, were ‘never seen fighting’

RITU JHA

An Indian-American husband and his wife who were found dead in their New Jersey apartment of stabs wounds, with their three-and-half-year-old daughter crying, were an “ideal couple,” a shocked friend said.

Balaji Rudrawar and his wife, Aarti B Rudrawar were found on April 7 around 5:41pm after the North Arlington, New Jersey police received a 9-1-1 call from a concerned neighbor reporting that she looked through the mail slot in the front door of 21 Garden Terrace, Apartment E, and observed two people lying on the floor in the living room area.

Officers forced entry into the apartment and found Balaji, 33, and Aarti, 31, with multiple stab wounds. A young child was also located in the apartment but had not been harmed, according to the police press communique.

An investigation revealed that Aarti died as a result of multiple stab wounds inflicted by her husband, Balaji. Balaji also died as a result of multiple stab wounds, 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, according to the county officers.

Friends who knew the family and were in shock. They have set up a Gofundme page to support the couple’s daughter.

Gobindsingh Nihalani, a friend of the Rudrawar family, told indica News he knew them for the past four years. Balaji Rudrawar, Nihalani said, worked at Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd.

Nihalani said that reports that the daughter was found crying in the balcony were incorrect because there is no balcony in the apartment.

“We want to set up a trust fund for the child,” Nihalani told indica News, “We are also working with child welfare to arrange the custody to her grandparents. At present, she is with one of our friends.”

“We will also be creating a trust account for this money to be distributed for her well-being and her future education,” he said. “This is for her future; she is sharp and intelligent.”

The Gofundme page shows it has raised $60,812 raised of its $150,000 goal.

Nihalani said he learned about the incident on the news at night. They had gone to the gurdwara and did not look at their phones. When he did, he saw several missed calls from friends.

“We never saw them fighting,” he said about the couple. “Aarti last November threw a surprise party to celebrate Balaji’s birthday.”

“None of us [friends] believe he can kill his wife, he loved her so much. And so did Aarti [love him]. We have been on local outings several times,” Nihalani said.

Asked if there had been any previous domestic violence case filed or complaint made by neighbors, Elizabeth Rebein, public information officer at the Bergen County prosecutor’s office, told indica News that it was not information that could be shared.

Balaji, an IT professional, was from Maharashtra. He had moved with his wife to the US in September 2015 after they got married and was on an H-1B visa and his wife on an H-4 visa.

“What they are saying has happened is beyond our imagination because he used to love his wife and daughter,” said Nihalani.

North Arlington Mayor Daniel H Pronti, in a statement to the community in the aftermath of the deaths, highlighted the domestic violence issue.

“My heart will always be with the small child who was left behind amid this horrific attack. I can only pray that memories fade and this baby is placed with a loving family or parental figure,” Mayor Pronti said.

“Gruesome crimes, unfortunately, occur every day, but we never want to believe they can happen near us,” he said and added that domestic violence will always be there, facing all walks of life, all cultures, and all situations. “Be aware of the signs and if anyone is in fear for their safety or the safety of others, reach out for help,” he said.