A memorial was held for the deceased Merced family. 00:13
San Francisco — A sheriff stated Thursday that the suspect in the kidnapping and murder of an 8-month-old baby, her parents, and an uncle had worked for the family’s trucking company and had a long-standing grudge with them that culminated in an act of “pure evil.”
A farm worker discovered the bodies of Aroohi Dheri, her mother Jasleen Kaur, 27, her father Jasdeep Singh, 36, and her uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, in an almond orchard in a remote section of California’s agricultural hub, the San Joaquin Valley.
Investigators were constructing a case against the suspect, a convicted felon who attempted suicide one day after the abductions, and were searching for a person of interest suspected to be his accomplice.
The suspect, Jesus Salgado, 48, was released from the hospital and put into the county jail on four counts each of kidnapping and murder on Thursday night, according to the Sheriff’s Office. It was unclear whether he had an attorney who could represent him.
Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, is charged with murder and kidnapping on October 3, 2022, for the abduction and murder of a family of four in Merced County, Central California. On the right are October 3 surveillance images of a man thought to be Salgado. The Merced County Sheriff’s Department
In the meantime, relatives and fellow members of the Punjabi Sikh community were horrified by the murders.
“There are currently hundreds of people in a global community who are grieving the loss of two families. These families are located on several continents “Sheriff of Merced County Vern Warnke told the Associated Press. We must demonstrate that we can administer justice.
Previously, Warnke demanded that prosecutors seek the death penalty. Salgado’s accomplice was urged to turn himself up by the sheriff, who described the crime as one of the most heinous in his 43 years of law enforcement.
“There are certain things you will carry to your grave. This was sheer evil in my eyes “Thursday he stated in an interview.
Through Sunday evening, the city of Merced, where the family’s trucking business was situated, will organize memorial vigils in their honor.
Authorities claim that Aroohi Dheri, her mother Jasleen Kaur, her father Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle (right) Amandeep Singh were abducted and murdered on October 3, 2022. The Merced County Sheriff’s Department
The victims’ bodies were discovered approximately 30 miles south of Merced, near the town of Dos Palos.
Thursday, Warnke would to comment on the condition of the adult remains found in the orchard, but said it was unknown how the infant died. Warnke stated that the child had no obvious injuries, and an autopsy will be performed.
He had previously stated that the victims had been discovered “pretty close together.”
The sheriff highlighted that they were discovered in a “very rural farm area, where few people travel.”
Salgado was previously convicted in Merced County of first-degree armed robbery, attempted false detention, and an effort to deter or dissuade a victim or witness. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, he was freed in 2015 and dismissed from parole three years later after being sentenced to 11 years in state prison in that case. According to the department, he also has a conviction for possession of a controlled narcotic.
Warnke told KFSN-TV on Tuesday that relatives of Salgado phoned authorities to report that he had confirmed his involvement in the kidnapping. Salgado attempted suicide before police arrived at a residence in Atwater, nine miles north of Merced, where an ATM card belonging to one of the victims was used after the kidnapping.
Thursday attempts to contact Salgado’s relatives were unsuccessful.
The victims were Punjabi Sikhs, a community with a major presence in the trucking industry in central California, with many members driving trucks, owning trucking companies, and operating other businesses related with transportation.
According to public documents, the family owns Unison Trucking Inc., and according to relatives, the family recently opened an office in a parking lot that the Singh brothers also managed. The sheriff stated that the conflict with Salgado extended back a year and “became really vicious” in text messages and emails. Other information regarding Salgado’s employment and the basis of the conflict was not immediately accessible.
Warnke stated that he believes the family was murdered within an hour of their abduction from their shop on Monday morning.
The suspect, later identified as Salgado, was captured on surveillance camera guiding the Singh brothers, whose wrists were tied behind their backs, into the back seat of Amandeep Singh’s pickup vehicle. He drove the brothers away for many minutes before returning.
Just before 9:30 a.m., the suspect returned to the office trailer and brought Jasleen Kaur, who was carrying her infant in her arms, out to the vehicle. He then drove away.
Hours later, on Monday, firemen discovered Amandeep Singh’s truck on fire near Winton, ten miles north of Merced. Officers arrived at Amandeep Singh’s residence, where a family member attempted to contact him and the couple. They called the sheriff’s office to report their family members missing after they were unable to contact them.
Most likely, they were already dead.