IN HAPPIER TIMES: Soumya (centre) with sister Sahaja (to her right) and a cousin seen in Chicago recently.

ADILABAD: Tummala Soumya Reddy, the 23-year-old MS student in Southern Illinois University, Chicago in U.S., was killed on Sunday morning by an assailant whose colour of skin remains the only mark of identity. "We were informed over phone at about 1 pm (IST) that an unidentified African American has shot dead Soumya near a lake, about 20 km from her residence in Chicago," said Gajanand Reddy of Hyderabad, a close relative of the victim.

Sahaja, Soumya’s sister who studies in another university in Chicago and Venkatram Reddy, son of Mr. Gajanand Reddy who is a software professional in Portland, Oregon, identified the girl’s body late on Sunday. The body will be brought to Hyderabad after completion of formalities, which may take 10 days’ time.

Mr. Gajanand Reddy, who is liaisoning with officials of the International Students Federation (ISF) in Chicago, said the Chicago police had not provided information with regard to the motive of the killing. "We were just informed by an officer of the ISF named Geet that Soumya had been shot dead by an unidentified person. Some of the information we got from other sources indicates that the girl was returning to the campus after consulting one of her professors under whom she apparently worked," added Mr. Gajanand Reddy.

The murder brings to an end a brilliant career even before it got going. Soumya, the second of three children of late Bhupal Reddy and Hema, was said to be extremely brilliant at studies. She had completed her BE at Hyderabad’s VIF college. Her elder sister Sahaja is also an Engineering graduate while brother Rajesh is in IIT Chennai.

Soumya had joined the MS Electronics course in August 2007 soon after completing the BE.
The family hailed from Muniyal village in Kadem mandal of Adilabad district. After the death of Bhupal Reddy, who was an employee in the Medical and Health department, Adilabad, the family had settled down in Hyderabad about 10 years అగో