All four family members who were kidnapped from a California business on Monday have been found dead in a farm area, the Merced County sheriff said Wednesday night.
A farmworker came across the bodies of 8-month-old Arrohi Dheri; her mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39; in a Merced County orchard, according to Sheriff Vern Warnke.
“It’s horribly, horribly senseless,” Warnke said. The bodies were all found in the same area, he said.
The California Department of Justice’s crime lab is expected to process the scene with investigators. The sheriff said authorities don’t yet know the motive.
Warnke said he’d been able to speak to the suspect, who is in custody after apparently trying to take his own life, but the sheriff did not share any details.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was arrested after Merced County investigators linked him to the kidnapping. Salgado attempted suicide just before authorities found him. He was listed in a critical condition at an area hospital and was unable to communicate with authorities, Warnke said at a news conference earlier Wednesday.
Warnke said in that news conference that he suspected the motive for the kidnapping may have been financial. Salgado was convicted in 2005 of theft and false imprisonment. He was released on parole in 2015.
The family was last seen on surveillance footage being forced from a Merced trucking business at gunpoint on Monday morning. The four family members were the only people in the business at the time, the sheriff said.
Salgado was reportedly seen walking up to and entering the business around 9 a.m. and then escorting the family into a pickup truck belonging to Amandeep Singh. In the surveillance images, Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh appeared to have their hands zip-tied behind their backs.
Warnke said Wednesday night that the victims’ families had been notified.