Kidnapped California Family, Including 8-Month-Old Baby, Found Dead in Rural Orchard

Kidnapped California Family
The family was kidnapped Monday from their trucking business.Merced County Sheriff's Office

The California family kidnapped on Monday were found dead in a remote orchard, authorities said. The victims are an 8-month-old girl, her parents and her uncle.

Four California family members, including an 8-month-old baby girl, have been found dead in a rural orchard after being kidnapped at gunpoint earlier this week, authorities said.

The horrible discovery was made by a farm worker in an extremely remote area, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke announced at a press conference Wednesday night.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” the sheriff said. "There’s no words right now to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” Warnke said. “I said it earlier: There’s a special place in hell for this guy.”

The suspect is a convicted robber who tried to kill himself one day after Monday's kidnapping, authorities said. He remains hospitalized in critical condition, according to the sheriff.

Investigators are searching for a motive in the abductions and killing of baby Aroohi Dheri, her mother, 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur, her father, 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, and her 39-year-old uncle, Amandeep Singh.

“We have a whole family wiped out and for what? We don’t know yet,” Warnke said.

“We’re hoping that they can now at least have some kind of closure,” Warnke said of the family's relatives. “It’s not the closure we were hoping for; it’s not the closure they were hoping for.”

Relatives had pleaded for the return of their loved ones. “Please help us out, come forward, so my family comes home safe,” Sukhdeep Singh, a brother of the victims, said earlier this week. 

The family was taken from their newly opened trucking company in Merced. Surveillance video released by the sheriff's office shows the two men being led out a back door, their hands zip-tied, at gunpoint. Minutes later, the video shows the mother, holding her daughter, being herded from the building by a man holding a gun.

The suspect has not been charged. He was identified as 48-year-old Jesus Salgado, who previously served eight months in prison after being convicted of convicted of first-degree robbery with the use of a firearm in Merced County, as well as attempted false imprisonment and an attempt to prevent or dissuade a victim or witness, authorities said.

Salgado was released in 2015 and served three years of probation, officials said. 

Previously named a person of interest in the case, Salgado is now considered a suspect, Warnke said. He has been speaking with investigators, Warnke said.

“The circumstances around this, when we are able to release everything, should anger the hell out of you,” said Warnke, who was emotional during Wednesday's press conference. The sheriff said others may have been involved in the abductions, but did not elaborate.

How the family was killed was not revealed. Warnke said the bodies were found close together in the orchard.

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