Fear of Going Back to India: Search Continues for Arkansas Teen Tanvi Marupally Missing for Past Two Weeks
- Her parents say the 14-year-old was tensed with the possibility of moving to India if her father lost his job and his immigration status.
Search is ongoing for an Indian American teen who’s been missing from her home in Conway, Arkansas, for the past two weeks. Tanvi Marupally, 14, was last seen on Jan. 17 when she left on the bus to Conway Junior High School. When the bus returned home she wasn’t on it.
Reports in local media said security camera footage showed her walking past the bus stop and heading north. She was last seen wearing a purple coat, a pink pullover, a blue shirt and blue jeans. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and has short black hair and wears glasses. Her parents told ABC7 News that on the day she disappeared, their daughter did not bring her smartwatch to school as she usually did and did not have a mobile phone, so her location cannot be pinged. Her parents describe her as being sweet, brilliant, and hard-working— and would always help anyone in need.
They also believe she may have run away due to her family’s “tenuous immigration status.” Father Pavan Roy Marupally told THV11 that he works in tech and faces the possibility of being laid off. Losing his job would cost him his work visa. If that should happen, the family would be given ten days to leave the country, he told the news outlet. When his wife lost her job, she had to return to India alone and reapply for a visa as his dependent. “It took a year before she could return to be with her family.”
The parents said the prospect of being ripped from her home in the U.S. was too much for their daughter. She would often visit a chapel near her home and its surrounding fields to escape life’s worries, they told ABC.
Pavan Marupally said he “attempted to distract his daughter from her growing concerns about leaving the U.S. by visiting many Arkansas State and National Parks with her. He has searched for his daughter in all the parks they used to visit together, even as far as Lake Fort Smith, he told ABC.
The worried father recalled a recent discussion he had with his daughter. When she asked about his plan should he lose his job and visa, he told her not to panic, he told THV11. “I said you and your mom first go back to India, let me figure out what and how the system works out, get a proper job, and then call you back.” He said his daughter was not happy with his response. “[She said] what, go back to India? Why should I go back to India? I’ve been here.”
Additionally, Pavan Roy Marupally told the news outlet that “apart from educational and career opportunities, a primary reason the family moved to the U.S. was to raise their daughter in a safer environment.”