Woman drowns in Beaver Lake

October 20, 2009

By J.B. Wogan

The way Anil Kumar will remember his friend Lavi is as a 20-something girl who imbued life with a sense of hospitality in a strange, new place.“She was taking care of us,” Kumar said. “We were a whole bunch of bachelors. She was the first to give us hot food.”

Lavanya Tirumalasetty, Lavi to friends, came to the Seattle area by way of Guntur, a city in south India. She knew Kumar, another immigrant from southern India, as a friend to her new husband, Mahesh Tangella. They all ended up in Sammamish.

Last week, Kumar and others mourned the loss of their friend after learning she had drowned in Beaver Lake.

Tirumalasetty, 33, leaves behind 3-year-old twin daughters and her husband Mahesh.

Friends said Tirumalasetty was generous and bubbly. She had a track record of helping people prepare for job interviews.

“Irrespective of who they were or how much she knew them, she was always willing to help,” Kumar said.

Both the medical examiner and the King County Sheriff’s Office concluded Tirumalasetty’s death was a suicide, though friends said they think her drowning was an accident. Tirumalasetty could not swim, they said.

She drowned Oct. 14, after walking into the lake from the park’s beach area at about 8:15 p.m., according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. A dive unit from the sheriff’s office found her body 25 feet from shore.

Medics from Eastside Fire & Rescue responded to the emergency call at about 9:15 p.m. and tried to resuscitate her, but she had already been dead for about 40 minutes, according to Sgt. Robert Baxter, of the Sammamish Police Department.

Tirumalasetty was apparently upset after an argument with her husband and left her house to go for a walk, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. A friend watched as Tirumalasetty waded into the water and disappeared.

Tirumalasetty worked as a software engineer at Microsoft; she had a reputation for being a quick study and devoted employee, he said.

Sandeep Kanaparthi, another friend, who knew Tirumalasetty for 10 years, said she loved to travel and took responsibility for planning group trips. Every few months, she would organize for a new adventure, including Whistler, B.C., and New York City.

Kanaparthi said his life ran on parallel tracks with Tirumalasetty’s from their arrival in the U.S. to having children in the same week.

“We grew up together. We knew each other since we were bachelors. We got married at the same time,” he said.

They lived in the same Beaver Lake neighborhood, Wesley Park.

Kanaparthi said was he was at the family’s house watching Tirumalasetty’s daughters when Tangella went searching for his wife.

“When Mahesh came back crying, that’s when I said, ‘Something bad has happened,’” he said.

J.B. Wogan: 392-6434, ext. 247, or jbwogan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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