A horrifying kidnapping story emerged this week from the San Joaquin Valley, with an abductor allegedly kidnapping a family of four, including an eight-month-old child. While a suspect is now in custody, the family and baby are still missing.
What started as an unexpected vehicle fire Monday morning in the small town of Winton in Merced County, about 100 miles southeast of Sacramento, has turned into a terrifying kidnapping case that’s making national news. Not long before noon Monday, a black Dodge Ram van was found abandoned and in flames, and the Merced Police Department attempted to contact its registered owner.
That owner, Amandeep Singh, could not be reached. His family quickly reported him missing, and as seen below, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office obtained security video indicating Singh had been kidnapped, with an eight-month-old baby Aroohi Dheri, and the baby’s parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh.
On Tuesday, KTVU reported a “person of interest” was taken into custody. Security video led them to 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, though before sheriff’s deputies approached him, they say Salgado “made an attempt on his own life.” They say he “attempted suicide prior to any law enforcement contact,” and they have not yet identified a motive in the kidnapping.
Jesus Manuel Salgado has been identified as a person of interest in the abduction of an 8-month-old baby and other family members. https://t.co/tfdLmNPtwW— HuffPost (@HuffPost) October 5, 2022
But the family remains missing, with few leads on their whereabouts. And as of now, law enforcement are describing Salgado as a "suspect."
In the above video, taken before Salgado was apprehended, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke (who seems a character) says, "We have a lowlife out there that kidnapped an 8-month-old baby, her mom, her dad and her uncle. So far we have no idea why the kidnapping."
And in a Wednesday morning press conference, we learn the family went through an awful ordeal. Law enforcement authorities announced they had more security video showing the family’s “arms were zip-tied behind their backs” and they were led at gunpoint to “the backseat of a pickup truck.” Sheriff’s deputies also note that “we’ve been unable to speak with the suspect in this case, due to his medical condition.”
Additionally, they say Salgado “has a prior history of robbery,” and that robbery involved “false imprisonment.” He has no further record since being paroled in 2015. Deputies also add that “we kind of figure” his motive was “financial.”
If you have any information regarding the family, you’re asked to call the Merced County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 209-385-7547, and you can remain confidential.
Image: Merced County Sheriff's Office