Jesus Manuel Salgado arrested in murder of kidnapped Sikh Merced California family of four. Career criminal in hospital in failed suicide. No known motive.
Jasleen Kaur, 27, her husband Jasdeep Singh, 36, their eight-month-old baby daughter Aroohi Dheri and Singh’s brother Amandeep, 39, were all found dead on Wednesday afternoon at a rural farm in Merced County, close to their residence in Merced.
The man suspected of kidnapping the family, Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was taken into custody Tuesday following a failed suicide attempt as cops closed in on the man. The man continued to remain at hospital.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke in a Facebook release said ‘our worst fears have been confirmed’ when the four bodies, including an 8-month-old girl, were discovered by a farm worker in the rural county.
The cause and manner of death was not disclosed.
Abducted family discovered dead within 2 days of kidnapping
Salgado was taken into custody after an ATM card in Atwater belonging to the victimized family was used at a nearby bank, some 9 miles away from the family’s Merced residence, authorities said. He attempted to kill himself before authorities arrested him, officials said.
No charges were filed, with Warnke saying authorities were working to build a case against Salgado – described as a career criminal (more details listed below).
‘There’s no words right now to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,’ Warnke said during a Wednesday night press conference. ‘I said it earlier: There’s a special place in hell for this guy.’
The sheriff emphasized that the victims were found in an ‘extremely rural farm area, not a lot of folks come out here.’
According to local reports, all family members were abducted around 1 p.m. Monday from their business in the city of Merced.
The family was reported missing after California fire officials responded to a 2020 Dodge Ram truck on fire in Winton that was registered to Amandeep Singh, who couldn’t be reached by police or relatives.
Prior to the macabre discovery, authorities released video surveillance of an armed man with a medical-style mask leading the kidnapped men away with their hands zip-tied behind their backs before returning to get the mother and baby.
VIDEO:Everything we know about the #Merced family kidnapped from their own business, then discovered dead in an orchard about 20 mi. away. Among them, an 8-month-old baby girl. The suspect Jesus Manuel Salgado is in custody, hospitalized after attempting suicide @ABC30 (1/2) pic.twitter.com/NxYjimDHOf
— Alyssa Flores Johansen (@AlyssaABC30) October 6, 2022
No known motive
Warnke said his department received a call around 5:30 p.m. local time from a farm worker who found the bodies during his job duties.
‘They were relatively close together,’ he said of how the four deceased family members.
A motive for the kidnapping and killing was not immediately known.
‘I’m just livid inside because this was completely, totally senseless,’ Warnke told reporters. ‘We have a whole family wiped out and for what? We don’t know yet.’
Added the sheriff at a later time, ‘My speculation is that it’s financial.’
Warnke said Wednesday night the department has spoken to the suspect, but did not provide further information.
Salgado was previously convicted of first-degree robbery with the use of a firearm in Merced County, as well as attempted false imprisonment and an attempt to prevent or dissuade a victim or witness.
He was sentenced to 11 years in state prison in that case, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
He was released from prison in 2015 and discharged from parole three years later. He also has a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the corrections agency said.
Investigators have not found a link between Salgado and the family to show they knew each other before the kidnapping.
‘As of right now, we believe it was random,’ Deputy Alexandra Britton told reporters. ‘We don’t have evidence to prove otherwise.’
Family members told KXTV-TV that the office for Unison Trucking Inc., the family’s business, had only opened about a week earlier.
‘My husband is very peaceful and calm person. We don’t have any clue why they kidnapped them,’ said Jaspreet Caur, wife of the kidnapped uncle.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office continues to ask the public to contact its office at 209-385-7547 to share any information they may have regarding the case. The FBI and the California justice department are also investigating.