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Missing India-born woman alive: US authorities

Washington, December 29
A newlywed India-born woman, who was feared drowned while placing a Hindu religious statue in a river, is instead alive and with a man whom she had known for over a year, authorities believe.

Rescue teams had been searching the Des Plaines River for Anu Solanki, 24, since Monday and that search operation -- which estimated to have cost over $ 2,50,000 -- has been called off, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times.

"We believe Anu is in fact alive," Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said.

Solanki, who was from Chicago, had told her husband she was going to a riverside forest reserve near Wheeling to dispose off a broken Hindu religious statue that had been used at their May wedding.

But, according to authorities, there was no sign of that statue and they believe that she actually went to meet 23-year-old Karan Jani, a recent graduate of University of Southern California.

The media report said the phone records show they had been talking to each other since last year.

On the day she disappeared, Solanki called a female friend about 90 minutes after leaving work in Wheeling and said she was going to the river to bury the statue.

But cell phone records show the call was routed through a cell tower in DeKalb, 60 miles west of Wheeling. Authorities believe she may have already met Jani at the river, says the Sun Times report.

The first impression was that Solanki might have fallen into the frigid river while trying to place the broken statue in the water. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of trying to recoup some of the costs of the search if Solanki had staged her disappearance. PTI

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