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A family of four, who had been missing for three days, were all found dead Oct. 5 evening in an orchard in rural Dos Palos, Merced County, California.

The bodies of the victims were found by a farmer in an orchard in this remote part of Central California.

Eight-month old baby Aroohi Dheri, her parents Jasleen Kaur, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 36, and her uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, were kidnapped Oct. 3 morning at Gateway Parking, a trucking business owned by the victims.

Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke holds a press conference at the scene where the bodies were found.

Kidnapped At Gunpoint

A chilling video released by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department shows the victims being led out of their office, with their hands bound by zip ties. The suspect was wearing a face mask and carrying a white trash bag. He later took a gun out of the trash bag. In the video, he is seen leading Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh to Amandeep’s black pick-up truck.

Approximately seven minutes later, the suspect returned to get Jasleen and Aroohi, and then drove off with mom and baby.

Later that morning, firefighters responded to a call which reported that a 2020 Dodge Ram truck was on fire. The California Highway Patrol and the Merced Police Department tried to contact the owner of the truck, Amandeep Singh, but could not reach him. They went to Singh’s home, but found no one there.

Credit Card Used

That afternoon, other family members called 911 to report the entire family missing. The Merced County Sheriff’s Department began an intensive kidnapping investigation to find the missing family: several law enforcement agencies and the Justice Department were involved in the investigation.

On Oct. 4, detectives received information that one of the victim’s credit cards was used at an ATM machine in the nearby city of Atwater. The user was identified as Jesus Manuel Salgado, who became a prime suspect in the kidnapping case. As police came to arrest Salgado, the suspect attempted to take his own life. He is now in critical condition at a local hospital.

Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke held a press conference Oct. 5 evening at the grim scene where the family’s bodies were found. “Our worst fears were confirmed this evening. I have no words to describe how I feel about this senseless crime. An entire family was just wiped out.”

‘Special Place In Hell’

“There’s a special place in hell for the guy who did this,” said Warnke emotionally, noting that no motive had been established in the case. He released no additional information about Salgado, and did not mention him by name. Warnke did note that the suspect has been talking to law enforcement.

The Sheriff’s office, along with the Justice Department, are actively piecing together all evidence in the case, said Warnke. He did not release information about the condition of the bodies or their manner of death.

Sunita Sohrabji

Sunita Sohrabji is the Managing Editor of India Currents. She is also the Health Editor at Ethnic Media Services.