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Kidnapped Indian-origin California family found dead, confirms sheriff

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Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke confirmed during a news conference late Wednesday, October 5, that all four bodies found near California’s Central Valley belonged to the family that had gone missing on Monday, October 3. Among the dead was an 8-month-old infant.

Earlier this week, a masked individual kidnapped an Indian-origin family at gunpoint. The victims included the baby girl, Aroohi Dheri, her mother, 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur, her father, 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh.

Tuesday, October 4, local detectives were notified that the ATM card belonging to one of the victims was used in Atwater, a small town eight miles away from Merced. 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado was identified later that day as a person of interest in the case. No charges have yet been announced against Salgado. He is currently in a hospital in critical condition after attempting suicide.

There is footage of the abduction, which was shown at Wednesday’s news conference. Per the footage, Jasdeep Singh arrived at the family’s business on Monday driving a brown minivan. Amandeep Singh followed him in a black pickup truck. A suspect wearing a mask walked toward the business site on California State Route 59. The video showed Jasdeep Singh exiting the building and interacting with the masked suspect before the two of them walked toward the building. The suspect then pulled a gun. Moments later, the gunman exited with Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh. The suspect restrained both men with zip ties, placed them in the back of a pickup truck, and drove away.

Next, the video showed the suspect returning to the business and coming back to the same truck with Jasleen Kaur and her infant daughter, Aroohi Dheri. Neither of them was restrained, and the suspect drove off southbound on Route 59. Their bodies were discovered in an orchard by a farmhand working there.

Jesus Manuel Salgado was formerly convicted for a 2015 robbery. Warnke said a motive has not been determined and feels that Salgado did not act alone. The FBI and the California Department of Justice are working with Warnke’s office to investigate the kidnapping and death of the young family.


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