- Police have arrested suspect Jesus Manuel Salgado, who attempted to take his own life before being taken into custody.
The Indian American family of four from California, including an eight-month-old child, who was kidnapped earlier this week, was found dead in a remote farm area of Merced County. Jasdeep Singh, 36; Jasleen Kaur, 27; their eight-month-old child Aroohi Dheri as well as her uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, were taken against their will at gunpoint on Oct. 3 from a business in the 800 block of South Highway 59 in the south Merced area.
In a news briefing, Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke said the bodies of the four victims were discovered on Oct. 5 at about 5:30 p.m. local time by a farm worker “during the course of his job duties,” according to news reports. The victims were found “relatively close together,” he said, but “did not disclose if investigators had determined their causes of death,” as reported by CBS News.
A relative, identified only as Balvinder, told CNN that the family was “peace-loving.” He said they own a small business and are longtime residents of the area. “We are devastated. We are shocked. We are dying every moment not finding any clues.”
A day after the kidnapping, police arrested Jesus Manuel Salgado, who attempted to take his own life before being taken into custody. “He was taken into custody after a credit card belonging to one of the victims was used on Oct. 4 morning at an ATM in the city of Atwater,” the CBS report said, citing the sheriff’s office. “There is no word on a motive in the kidnappings or the possible connection between Salgado and the victims,” the report added.
Warnke shared information on Salgado’s criminal past – which includes a robbery in 2005 that led to an 8-year prison sentence. According to court papers in 2007, Salgado pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for first-degree robbery, attempted false imprisonment, and dissuading a witness. Salgado spent eight years in prison in 2015 and spent three years on probation.yourcentralvalley.com
The police chief said he believes that there was one other person involved. “Until we get some kind of conversation going with the suspect, we are not 100 percent,” he said. “We don’t have any evidence to support that. It’s just the circumstances surrounding this.”
The following day, before the bodies were found, the sheriff’s face released surveillance footage that showed the victims being led out of the business by an armed man. The video shows the man exiting the building with Jasdeep and Amandeep, who are both zip-tied at the hands and placing them in the back of a pickup truck. The truck leaves, but returns six minutes later. The suspect goes back inside and leaves soon after with Kaur and her daughter Aroohi Dheri.
The police began investigating the kidnapping when a pickup truck registered to Amandeep was found ablaze on Oct. 3 morning on a rural road in Winton, a community a few miles north of the city of Merced. California Highway Patrol officers attempted to contact Amandeep, and when they were unable to do so, they reached a family member, who was also unable to contact him. Eventually, the family member reported all four missing. By early afternoon, sheriff’s investigators had determined that the four had been kidnapped from the business.