MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A suspect in the kidnapping of four family members had previously worked for the family – before he took them away, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
On Wednesday night, investigators said they found 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur, 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh, and eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri dead in an orchard near Dos Palos on Wednesday night. All four of the victims had been taken against their will from the family’s trucking business near Highway 59 on Monday morning.
On Thursday afternoon, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke confirmed that the suspect, identified as 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, had a previous working relationship with the family.
Sheriff Warnke said he was unsure if Salgado had worked at the trucking company where the kidnapping took place, or if he worked for another business owned by the Singh family.
The motive for the kidnapping has not yet been released, but Sheriff Warnke said he believes it is similar to a previous home invasion Salgado had carried out.
In 2005, Salgado was arrested for a home invasion that he had committed on his former boss.
Sheriff Warnke said Salgado had committed the crime because he believed his former boss had owed him money.
Officials said Salgado had held his former boss’s family hostage in their home as he robbed them. Salgado served eight years in prison for the home invasion before he was released on parole in 2015.
Investigators said they are still working to figure out the family’s cause of death, but did specify that no direct signs of injuries were found on eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri.
“If you don’t agree with me about the evilness in this, there is something wrong,” Sheriff Warnke said about the family members’ deaths.
Officials said Salgado is still recovering in the hospital after he tried to take his own life.
Salgado is expected to be booked into the Merced County Jail as soon as he is medically cleared.