Video Producer: Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, 6 October, booked Jesus Manuel Salgado for kidnapping and murdering four members of an Indian-origin family in California and sent him to the county jail.
He was arrested for four counts of murder and kidnapping each.
The Singh family was kidnapped from a business in the county on Monday, 3 October. Subsequently on Tuesday, Salgado was held by the police after he attempted to kill himself. On Wednesday, the police found and recovered the bodies of the four deceased family members.
Salgado had once worked for the Singh family's trucking business and had a "pretty nasty" long-standing dispute with them, which culminated into the crime, authorities and a relative said.
The deceased include 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her mother Jasleen Kaur (27), her father Jasdeep Singh (36), and her uncle Amandeep Singh (39).
Who Is Jesus Salgado?
The 48-year-old Salgado is currently undergoing medical treatment after he attempted to kill himself before officials arrived to arrest him on 4 October.
It was revealed by the authorities and relatives that Salgado used to work for the family he eventually kidnapped and killed, and had a long and tumultuous dispute with them.
Relatives said that Salgado sent the family angry text messages and emails in 2021 after working for their trucking business.
However, this is not Salgado’s first run-in with the law.
Salgado was first convicted on a methamphetamine possession charge in 2001, The Fresno Bee, a local newspaper, citing court documents, said. Salgado’s record shows that he was previously convicted of robbing another one of his former employers.
The Same Crime 17 Years Ago
In 2005, Salgado was convicted of robbery and served eight years of an eleven years sentence in jail, CBS47 – a local TV news channel – reported.
In that case, the victim's family told sheriff’s deputies that Salgado, dressed in a black ski mask, robbed their home at gunpoint in Merced County.
"I was shutting the front door of my home when he pulled out a gun and held it to the back of my head."2005 robbery victim told CBS47, wishing to stay anonymous
Using duct tape, Salgado tied the hands of the man, his wife, their 16-year-old daughter and her friend, before he “stole all the money we had, rings, that kind of stuff.”
The man told CBS47 that that Salgado even took the ring from his wife’s finger before he “made the girls jump in the pool, and tried to push me in the pool too.”
“Better tell me the truth because I’m taking your daughter with me,” Salgado told the victim, according to the sheriff’s report, The Fresno Bee claimed.
"He told us, 'If you call the cops, I will kill you'. And then he just walked out," the man said. Salgado was arrested the next morning.
Salgado was allegedly upset as the man was his employer and had recently fired him from a two-year stint of employment.
Surprisingly, the victims of the 2005 robbery owned a trucking business in Merced town - as did the Indian-origin Sikh family, the latest victims of Salgado.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said that prior to the kidnapping and murder of the Indian-origin family, law enforcement had not had any interaction with Salgado since his parole release.
The Police Investigation
Salgado was named a person of interest by the police after cameras captured a man resembling him using a bank card belonging to one of the missing persons.
"Prior to law enforcement involvement, Salgado attempted to take his own life. Salgado is in our custody, currently receiving medical attention and in critical condition."Merced County Sheriff's Office
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office later said it was determined that the photo of the person at the ATM was not the person of interest that is in custody.
"The victim’s ATM card was used, however, we are working with the bank to obtain the correct photo," the office said in a statement.
Authorities have said that the four were taken against their will from their business at the 800 Block of South Highway 59. The site is a roadway lined with retailers and restaurants.
The Sheriff's County Department said that they reached out to the relatives of the family back in India, who had said that they were in shock and grief after hearing about the mysterious disappearance of their kin.
Jasdeep’s parents, Dr Randhir Singh and Kirpal Kaur, are natives of Hoshiarpur’s Harsi Pind village in Punjab. The family went to the US around 16 years ago and settled there, and runs a transport business.
(With inputs from The Fresno Bee, CBS47 and PTI)