Speed Reads

'Our worst fears have been confirmed'

4 members of California family, including baby, found dead 2 days after abduction

A mother, father, their 8-month-old baby, and the dad's brother were found dead Wednesday evening, two days after they were abducted at gunpoint from their Merced, California, trucking business, Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke announced Wednesday night. "Our worst fears have been confirmed," he said. Authorities had been searching for the family since Monday, after a pickup truck belonging to the men was found burning 13 miles south of Merced and surveillance video from the business pointed to a kidnapping.

Warnke said a farm worker had discovered the bodies of the family members — Jasdeep Singh, 36; Jasleen Kaur, 27; their baby daughter Aroohi Dheri; and Amandeep Singh, 39 — in an "extremely rural" area. The sheriff's office announced Tuesday that Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, had been arrested as a person of interest, though he was sedated in a hospital after attempting suicide at his home in Atwater. He has not been charged. 

"There's no word right now to describe the anger I feel, and the senselessness of this incident," Warnke told reporters. "I said it earlier: There's a special place in hell for this guy, and I mean it."

Detectives zeroed in on Salgado after learning Tuesday that a bank card belonging to one of the victims had been used at an ATM in Atwater, a town about 8 miles northwest of Merced. Warnke said police are still searching for a motive for the crime, but it could have been financial in nature, and they don't know if the kidnapper had an accomplice.

Salgado was arrested for armed robbery in 2005, but police have had no "major contact" with him since he was paroled in 2015, Warnke said.