• Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

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Four family members kidnapped in California have been found dead, sheriff says

Four members of a central California family who were kidnapped two days ago have been found dead, the Merced County sheriff said Wednesday night.

“Tonight, our worst fears have been confirmed,” Sheriff Vernon Warnke said at a news conference. “We found the four people from the kidnapping, and they are in fact deceased.”

Authorities had been searching for 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri; her parents, Jasleen Kaur, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 36; and her uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, since Monday.

The sheriff’s office has said they were taken against their will Monday from a business on South Highway 59. Video released Wednesday appears to shows them being abducted from the family trucking business by a man armed with a gun.

A person taken into custody in connection with the case was unconscious after a suicide attempt, the sheriff’s office said earlier Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office was called around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after a farmworker discovered the bodies, Warnke said.

“There was a farmworker in area and during course of his job duties came across them,” he said.

Warnke said the family members were found in an “extremely rural farm area.”

“Not a lot of folks come out here, except for the folks here,” he said.

He said the family of the victims has been notified.

The suspect, Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was apprehended Tuesday after the missing family’s ATM card was used at a bank in Atwater that morning, the sheriff’s office has said.

His own family called authorities, but Salgado “attempted suicide prior to any law enforcement contact,” Warnke said earlier Wednesday. Salgado was at a hospital under sedation Wednesday, the sheriff said then.

Warnke said investigators don’t know the motive. He called it “horribly, horribly senseless.”

“We were praying, obviously, for a better ending, and this is not it,” Warnke said.