Man Held in Slaying of Wife After Leading Police to Her Grave

Times Staff Writer

A Woodland Hills man was being held without bail Monday after he admitted strangling his wife and dumping her body in the desert near Barstow, police said.

Nandan Lal, 25, had reported his wife missing Saturday morning, saying she had left home five days earlier on a business trip and had not contacted him since, Los Angeles Police Detective D. L. Burris said.

But when detectives questioned Lal later about the disappearance of Mandeep Kaur, 25, they said Lal told different versions about what he thought had happened to his wife, Detective Paul Stewart said.

"The circumstances were suspicious from the start," Stewart said. "We talked to him several times and found a lot of inconsistencies in what he was saying."

Detectives also found a bloodstained wall in the couple's apartment in the 21500 block of Burbank Boulevard. Lal was given a polygraph test, then under further police questioning Saturday night allegedly admitted killing his wife on Aug. 18, police said.

Lal then led investigators to a remote section in the desert just west of Barstow, where they found the decomposing body, Burris said. An autopsy was to be performed today by the San Bernardino County coroner's office, a coroner's spokesman said.

Police refused to elaborate on a possible motive for the killing until after the Los Angeles County district attorney's office files charges. Arraignment is set for Wednesday in Van Nuys Municipal Court.

Police said the couple sold clothing made by an Indian company owned by Kaur's father. Lal and Kaur were married in India two years ago. Kaur came to Los Angeles shortly after the wedding. Her husband followed nine months ago, police said.

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