Kidnapping and murder suspect of California family booked into jail

Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was booked for four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping.
Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was booked for four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping. Photo credit Merced County Sheriff's Office

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – The tragic kidnapping and murder of a Merced County family, including one eight-month-old baby, came to a close on Thursday as the suspect was booked into jail.

Jesus Manuel Salgado was booked for four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Aroohi Dheri, 8 months, her mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27, her father, Jasdeep Singh, 36, and her uncle, Amandeep Singh, 39.

His brother, Alberto Salgado was also taken into custody for criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence.

The nightmare began on Monday, when CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced responded to a call at 11:39 a.m. of a vehicle on fire at Buhach Road and Oakdale Road in Winton.

The car, a black 2020 Dodge Ram truck, was found to be registered to Amandeep Singh. When the Merced Police Department arrived at his home, he couldn't be found.

Another family member was contacted and they tried to contact the three adults. Unable to reach them, they were then reported missing to the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators quickly concluded the family had been kidnapped from their business in the 800 Block of South Highway 59.

Two days later, on Wednesday, deputies received a call to the area of Indiana Road and Hutchins Road in the Dos Palos area at 5:30 p.m. about a deceased person.

When they arrived on the scene, all four bodies of the missing family members were discovered in rows of an almond orchard.

On Tuesday, police were able to connect Salgado, 48, to the crime. Before he was taken into custody, he attempted to take his own life and received medical attention after his arrest.

According to reporting by KTVU, Salgado is a convicted felon who has worked for the family at their trucking business before becoming involved in some kind of dispute.

The Merced County Sheriff's Office is seeking full prosecution, which could mean the death penalty.

"I believe, truly, that at the very beginning, his intention was to kill these people," said Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke.

A vigil was held in memory of the victims Thursday evening.

Those who attended couldn't believe such a thing could happen in their own backyard. "Tonight was the community coming together and showing the Singh family that we're here with you and we will be here with you for as long as you need us," said a family friend. "And we will remember the names of those who were lost."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Merced County Sheriff's Office