Murder in Prashanthi Nilayam of a Swiss, German-speaking lady in 1992
A letter sent to Robert and Reidun Priddy about the brutal murder of a lady in her room at Prashanthi Nilayam (see below. exact date uncertain, most probably in 1992, certainly some months at least before the June 1993 murders in Sathya Sai Baba's bedroom took place.) At that time, Marge Hendel, an American - having left her husband and children on account of Sai Baba - was living mostly in Norway, but with months per annum in India for a number of years. [The same incident was also reported in a letter written in 2002 by Eileen Weed aka 'Divya') see at foot of page]
Marge was known to many US devotees. Through the years up until her death ( from cancer in Puttaparthi, still a devotee, in December 2010), Marge Hendel stayed for long periods in India, at Puttaparthi and Brindavan. My wife had met the Swiss-German lady who was about to become a flat owner when she was knifed to death in her new room by two young Puttaparthi brothers for her money. When we were back at the ashram again, I asked Danish Mr. Thorbjørn Meyer - then the coordinating Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization for Scandinavian group of countries what he knew of the murder of that lady. He said she was killed at her apartment a day or so after having been to the State Bank of India in Puttaparthi, and because she had not concealed her withdrawal (of Rs. 80,000.- an extremely considerable sum for Indian villagers), she had been followed by the thieves. He added that it was really her own fault! I was lost for words when he said that... he was until his death (around 2008) one of the most active Sai officials at covering up anything whatever which may reflect badly on his Lord and Master, Sathya Sai Baba. That this attitude was widespread among the ashram insiders is evident from Divya's letter:-
The above murder was investigated by the Puttaparthi police, who caught the murderers - two brothers resident in Puttaparthi. Some weeks later they escaped from custody. V.K. Narasimhan told me that the police had allowed them to abscond after they had agreed to tell where the money was hidden, which the police then took for themselves. The Prashanthi Nilayam authorities were apparently able to prove this embezzlement and this information was used by Janakiramiah and others involved to pressure the Puttaparthi police chief into giving the order for the execution by rifle fire of the four Sai follower young men trapped in Sai Baba's bedroom apartment.
See also confirmation of this by V.K. Narsimhan, Sai Baba's trusted editor, here
Letter from 'Divya' to a friend, sent to me by her.