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Kidnapped family of 4 found dead in California, suspect arrested

“Tonight, our worst fears have been confirmed,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said 

October 6, 2022 2:54am

Updated: October 6, 2022 10:35am

The search for a family of four that was kidnapped in California ended on Wednesday after authorities found their bodies on a rural farm.

“Tonight, our worst fears have been confirmed,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said during a news conference Wednesday night. “Horribly, horribly senseless what happened here.”

Eight-year-old Aroohi Dheri, her parents, Jasleen Kaur, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 36, and her uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, “were taken against their will from a business” at gunpoint in Merced, California on Monday.

On Monday evening, the sheriff’s office released images of a man they thought was a suspect in the kidnapping. The individual is seen wearing a black and gray hoodie and wears a surgical mask.

"We’ve got evidence to indicate that the individuals involved in this destroyed evidence in an attempt to cover up their tracks,” Warnke said at the time.

The family’s bodies were found by a farm worker as he was performing his job duties. He said he found the family members were “relatively close together.”

The man suspected of kidnapping the family, identified as Jesus Manuel Salgado, was taken into custody. No charges have been filed against him.  

Salgado, 48, was taken into custody after he attempted to use an ATM card belonging to the family at a nearby bank. Authorities said he attempted to kill himself before he was arrested.

The motive for the kidnapping is still unknown. The case is under investigation.

“I’m just livid inside because this was completely, totally senseless,” he added. “We have a whole family wiped out and for what? We don’t know yet.”