Late on Thursday, the suspect in the kidnapping and murder of a California family’s four members—including their infant—was taken into custody. According to Alexandra Britton, a spokeswoman for the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, Jesus Manuel Salgado was detained on four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping.
48-year-old Salgado is charged with murdering 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri’s parents, Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, as well as her uncle Amandeep Singh. According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, he was checked into the Merced County Jail. Calls to Salgado’s family members have gone unanswered, and CNN has been unable to locate a lawyer for the defendant.
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Authorities found the victims’ bodies in a farm area on Wednesday after spending days looking for them after they were reported missing on Monday. A farmworker in Merced County, in central California, had previously alerted them to the victims’ remains in an orchard.
A day after Salgado was held as a suspect, the revelation was made public by a visibly upset sheriff who referred to the killings as “absolutely and totally pointless.” Vern Warnke, the sheriff for Merced County, said of the suspect on Wednesday night: “There’s a special place in hell for this guy. Warnke remarked, “A whole family (was) wiped off, and we still don’t know why.”
Records from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation show that Salgado served almost ten years in jail after being found guilty of attempted false imprisonment, first-degree robbery, and possession of a controlled narcotic. The family was taken from their trucking company in Merced on Monday morning at gunpoint, according to authorities.
The kidnapping was caught on surveillance video. When a family car was discovered abandoned and on fire that morning, investigators reported they discovered the missing persons. After his family informed law enforcement that the suspect had admitted to taking part in the kidnapping, police put the suspect into jail on Tuesday, according to Britton.
When we are able to expose everything, the circumstances around this should enrage you to no end, Warnke stated. The suspect has been receiving medical care and made an attempt at suicide before being apprehended, according to Warnke. Warnke declined to specify how the family was killed.
He claimed that it appears the family was murdered where they were discovered and before the sheriff’s office was notified that they were missing on Monday. According to Warnke, who did not go into detail on the scope of that involvement, Salgado is the primary suspect in the deaths, but authorities think others may also have been involved.
Warnke asserted, “I strongly believe that we will discover and discover that there was more than just him participating. Officials are collaborating with him to find motivation because he has been offering information to investigators, according to Warnke. Salgado received an 11-year term in the prior case in January 2007. His parole supervision concluded in June 2018 after he was freed on parole in June 2015, the department said to CNN in an email.
The kidnapping of a ‘peace-loving’ family caught on video
Authorities earlier on Wednesday made available CCTV footage of the kidnapping that occurred Monday morning at the family’s Merced trucking company. Jasdeep Singh may be seen arriving at the company’s parking lot at 8:30 a.m., followed by Amandeep Singh at 9 a.m. Jasdeep is spotted interacting with a man outside the company just before 9:00 am. The footage depicts the man pulling out what seemed to be a gun while carrying a trash bag.
A few minutes later, Jasdeep and Amandeep can be seen getting into a truck with their hands bound behind their backs. The vehicle leaves shortly after that and comes back six minutes later. After coming back, the suspect enters the establishment and leaves with a gun as Jasleen Kaur is holding an 8-month-old baby named Aroohi and moves in front of the suspect to the truck.
According to investigators, two of the victims’ cell phones were discovered on a road later that day by a farmer. The farmer once picked up the phone and had a conversation with a victim’s kin. A family member had begged people to come forward with any information in the case before the bodies were discovered Wednesday night.
A family member, Balvinder, begged, “This is a peace-loving family running a modest company in the Merced area. “No one is prepared to deal with this; we are simply hoping and praying at every minute.”
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