A frantic search in Merced County has ended with a worst-case scenario, as the family of four that was kidnapped Monday morning was found dead late Wednesday afternoon, and with them the eight-month old child.
A Monday kidnapping case in a rural area of Merced County was unusual, as police quickly apprehended the suspect, but could not find the family of four that he had kidnapped. Complicating matters was the fact that the suspect, 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, had attempted to take his own life before he was apprehended by the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, and was unable to communicate with law enforcement to provide any leads on the missing family’s whereabouts.
And an eight-month-old baby, Aroohi Dheri, was one of the missing family members. But at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, the Chronicle reports that the baby and the family were found dead in a field. The baby was with her parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle Amandeep Singh.
“Tonight our worst fears have been confirmed. We found the four people from the kidnapping, and they are, in fact, deceased,” Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke said at the Wednesday night press conference seen above. “There’s no words right now to describe the anger I feel, and the senselessness of this incident.”
Mourning the absolutely senseless loss of Aroohi Dheri, her parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh and her uncle, Amandeep Singh. I wish all strength to their family in this time of grief. 🤍🧡 pic.twitter.com/1Qfgyd45vw— Shanda Green (@ShandaGreen) October 6, 2022
We do have more details on the timeline of the kidnapping, which law enforcement did not become aware of until they discovered Amandeep Singh’s black Dodge Ram abandoned and on fire shortly before Noon on Monday. But the kidnapping had happened a few hours before, at an unnamed business on Highway 59.
“Video surveillance showed a person entering the business with a firearm around 9 a.m. Monday,” according to the Chronicle. “Jasdeep Singh and Amandeep Singh were seen on the video leaving the business a few minutes later, with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, officials said.” The suspect put both men in his truck and drove off, returning 20 minutes later to abduct Kaur and the baby. We still do not know how or why Singh’s vehicle was on fire.
The bodies of all four were found by “a farmworker in the area,” according to Sheriff Warnke, and deputies were alerted late Wednesday afternoon. Warnke said the four bodies were found “relatively close together.”
Despite the awful closure of knowing the family’s fate, there are still plenty of questions about what exactly happened. And we may get more answers, as Salgado is reportedly now well enough to speak with law enforcement. “That suspect has, in fact, been talking to us,” Warnke said at Wednesday night’s press conference.
Image: Merced County Sheriff's Office via Facebook