Talented techie strangled to death; no suspects yet

The woman who was found murdered in her Redmond apartment recently moved to the area, loved to ride motorcycles and was a "shooting star," according to her supervisor at a Bellevue software-development company.

Arpana Jinaga

Arpana Jinaga

The woman who was found murdered in her Redmond apartment recently moved to the area, loved to ride her motorcycle and was a “shooting star,” according to her supervisor at a Bellevue software-development company.

Arpana Jinaga, a 24-year-old software engineer, died from strangulation and asphyxia early last Saturday morning, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“She was extremely talented, very bright, very outgoing,” said Jinaga’s supervisor Muhammad Ali, a software quality-assurance manger for EMC. “People loved working with her.”

Police responded to the Valley View Apartments in the 8900 block of Redmond-Woodinville Road around 9 a.m. on Monday after Jinaga’s friend found her dead body and called police.

At first, Redmond Police called the incident “suspicious,” but now they are investigating it as a homicide, according to Redmond Police spokesperson Jim Bove. There are no suspects as of Thursday morning, Bove said.

Bove said there was forced entry into Jinaga’s apartment unit, signs of trauma to Jinaga and the apartment was “in disarray.”

“There is indication of a physical struggle by the Jinaga,” Bove said.

Bove went on to say the investigation is still in its early stages and “will likely be several days before we have more extensive information.”

Jinaga was a young inventor in the highly technical field of chip designing. Jinaga received a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Rutgers University in New Jersey in October of 2007. Soon after, she was offered a job at EMC and began work there on March 31. She was a top-20 winner in a digital signal controller design contest, sponsored by Microchip Technology Inc., an Arizona-based company.

Besides being a talented designer, Jinaga volunteered with a fire department and at an animal shelter in Bellevue, Ali said. She also bought a motorcycle soon after moving to the area and joined a motorcycle club, Ali said.

Jinaga used to phone her parents, who live in India, regularly and had last spoken last Thursday, telling them that she was attending a party last Friday night, according to the The Hindu news service.

When Jinaga’s father, who is the head of the School of Information Technology at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, hadn’t heard from her in a few days, he phoned her friend who lived in the area. He asked him to go check on her.

The friend then went to the apartment, saw the shattered door jam and found Jinaga dead on her bedroom floor.

Ali, Jinaga’s supervisor, said he became concerned around 11 a.m. when Jinaga had not showed up to work. He tried to call her, but got no response. Little did he know, one his brightest and best employees was slain.

“I can’t imagine the reason why or who would want to do such a thing to her,” Ali said. “This is very upsetting to me.”


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