Suspect in family's kidnapping found; victims still missing




  • In US
  • 2022-10-05 16:22:03Z
  • By Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A man suspected of kidnapping a Sikh family, including an 8-month-old baby, in central California tried to kill himself and remained in critical condition Wednesday, authorities said. The family is still missing.

The Merced County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that investigators identified Jesus Salgado, 48, after he used a victim's ATM card. The family was kidnapped Monday at gunpoint from a business in Merced, the office said, without providing further details.

The sheriff's department planned a news conference to discuss the case Wednesday morning.

Detectives obtained a surveillance photo from the ATM in Atwater, a city about 9 miles (14 kilometers) north of Merced, and "the person is similar in appearance to the surveillance photo from the original kidnapping scene," the office said in a statement. The sheriff's office had released two still images of a possible suspect seen in surveillance footage, and asked for the public's help in identifying him.

The sheriff's office said detectives received information that identified Salgado as a person of interest and that he had attempted to take his own life Tuesday before police arrived. The office didn't say where Salgado was taken into custody.

The kidnapper took the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child's mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke in a video published Monday on Facebook.

Warnke said the kidnapper made no ransom demands or contact of any kind.

Family members told KXTV-TV that the family, which has a trucking company, was taken from an office that they had only opened about a week earlier.

"My husband is very peaceful and calm person. We don't have any clue why they kidnapped them," said Jaspreet Caur, wife of the kidnapped uncle.

The sheriff said detectives believe the kidnapper destroyed unspecified evidence in an attempt to cover his tracks.

The sheriff's office said that firefighters on Monday found a pickup truck belonging to Amandeep Singh that was on fire. Merced Police Department officers went to Amandeep Singh's home where a family member tried to reach him and the couple. When they were not able to reach their family members, they called the Merced County Sheriff's Office to report them missing, the office said.

The sheriff's office said the FBI, the California Department of Justice, and other local law enforcement agencies are helping with the investigation.

Merced is a city of 86,000 people about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco in the San Joaquin Valley.

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