Four members of California Sikh family, including 8-month-old toddler, found DEAD after being kidnapped
MERCED, CALIFORNIA: Four members of a Sikh family, including an eight-month-old girl, have been found dead after being kidnapped at gunpoint from their trucking business in central California. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke confirmed the four victims were found dead in a rural farm area on Wednesday night, October 5, 2022, saying his "worst fears have been confirmed".
"We found the four people from the kidnapping and they are in fact deceased," Warnke said, according to the Daily Mail. "There is no words to describe the anger I feel, and the senselessness of this incident." Referring to the killer, he said, "There's a special place in hell for this guy, and what we're going to deal with tonight is bad."
The news of their death comes after police released a disturbing surveillance footage of the family being kidnapped at gunpoint. Victim Jasleen Kaur, 27, was kidnapped along with her husband Jasdeep Singh, 36, their eight-month-old daughter Aroohi Dheri and her brother-in-law Amandeep Singh, 39, from their newly-opened trucking business on Monday, October 3. Their bodies were discovered in an orchard near Indiana Road and Hutchinson Road by a farm worker, who subsequently contacted authorities.
Suspect Jesus Salgado, 48, was arrested in Merced on Tuesday, October 4. He allegedly used the ATM card of one of the family members after kidnapping them. He is yet to be formally charged with the kidnapping and murders.
Family members have said nothing was stolen from the trucking company, but the victims were all wearing jewelry. Salgado used the ATM card of one of the victims in Atwater, a city about 9 miles north of Merced, after the kidnapping. Warnke said the suspect did not make any ransom demands, and that he believes it was a financially motivated crime.
Meanwhile, Salgado, 48, is in the hospital after trying to kill himself before being taken into custody. Authorities in Merced County have been attempting to interact with him to know whether another person was involved. "Until we get some kind of conversation going with the suspect, we are not 100 percent," Warnke said of Salgado. "I fully believe that there was one other person involved. We don't have any evidence to support that. It's just the circumstances surrounding this."
Salgado had previously been convicted of first-degree robbery with the use of a firearm in Merced County, and also attempted false imprisonment and an attempt to prevent or dissuade a victim or witness. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said he was sentenced to 11 years in state prison in that case. He was released in 2015 and three years later, he was discharged from parole. He reportedly also has a conviction for possession of a controlled substance.
Investigators found no link between the murdered family and Salgado. "As of right now, we believe it was random," Deputy Alexandra Britton said. "We don't have evidence to prove otherwise." The FBI, the California Department of Justice, and other local law enforcement agencies are reportedly helping with the investigation.