MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — The four family members who were kidnapped from a business in Central California’s Merced County have been found dead, the sheriff announced Wednesday evening.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke says the bodies were found in an orchard near Indiana and Hutchinson roads.
“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” the sheriff said. “We found the four people from the kidnapping and they are in fact deceased.”
“There is no words right now to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” he added. “I said it earlier, there’s a special place in Hell for this guy.”
The suspect, Jesus Salgado, is in custody but he remains sedated in a hospital after he tried to kill himself.
Authorities at a news conference Wednesday showed surveillance video of a man kidnapping the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, from their business.
The family was kidnapped Monday at gunpoint from a business in Merced, authorities said.
The video shows two of the family members – Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh – coming out of the back door of the business with their hands zip-tied together.
Moments later, the video shows the kidnapper leading Kaur and her 8-month-old baby, Aroohi Dheri, out of the building into a truck.
Deputies later learned that one of the victim’s ATM cards was used at a bank in Atwater, about 9 miles north of Merced. Authorities added a farmer answered the victim’s phone after it was found in the middle of the street.
A motive for the kidnapping has not been determined, but authorities it is believed to be financial in nature.
The sheriff’s office said his own family contacted authorities reporting that Salgado had admitted to them he was involved with the kidnapping of the family.
Salgado was previously 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. He was sentenced to 11 years in state prison in that case, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
He was released from prison in 2015 and discharged from parole three years later. He also has a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, the corrections agency said.
There is no evidence at this time to indicate Salgado knew the family prior to the kidnapping.
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