One of two brothers facing charges in the deaths of four members of a California family had worked for the family’s trucking business.
The four had been abducted Monday morning from the business in Merced, about 130 miles southeast of San Francisco. They were found dead Wednesday in an almond orchard in Dos Palos, about 30 miles south of Merced.
On Thursday, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office announced that Jesus Manuel Salgado had been charged with four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping. On Friday, Alberto Salgado, the suspect’s brother, was charged with criminal conspiracy, accessory and destroying evidence, according to The New York Times.
The victims included Aroohi Dheri, who was 8 months old; her mother Jasleen Kaur, who was 27; her father Jasdeep Singh, who was 36; and her uncle Amandeep Singh, who was 39, according to the Associated Press. All were Punjabi Sikhs.
The family owns Unison Trucking Inc., according to the AP.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said a dispute with Jesus Salgado began about a year ago and “got pretty nasty” in text messages and emails. The precise nature of the dispute was not disclosed.
Surveillance video showed a man in a paper COVID mask leading the Singh brothers out of their business at gunpoint. Their hands were bound behind their backs. After driving away, he returned for the infant and her mother.
Warnke said he thinks all of the adults were killed within an hour of being taken.
KFSN-TV said it was told by a representative of the family that the baby was left to die from exposure.
Warnke has called for the death penalty to be sought in the crimes.
“There are no words to describe the anger I feel,” Warnke said, according to KFSN. “There’s a special place in hell for this guy.”
“There’s some things you’ll take to the grave. This to me was pure evil,” he said Thursday.
This was in Merced County. Suspect Jesus Salgado tried to kill himself before his arrest, police confirm. All four dead bodies found this evening in a field. He was previously convicted in 2005 for a similar robbery. Unimaginable evil https://t.co/fi4lB0YBjN
— Rian Garcia (@Riguy_) October 6, 2022
“Right now, I’ve got hundreds of people in a community that are grieving the loss of two families, and this is worldwide. These families are across different continents. We’ve got to show them that we can give them justice,” he said.
Jesus Salgado was released from state prison in 2015 after being convicted of first-degree robbery with the use of a firearm, attempted false imprisonment and an attempt to prevent or dissuade a victim or witness.
A report in the New York Post said that the victim in the 2005 crime that led to Jesus Salgado’s imprisonment was another man who owned a trucking business and who had fired Salgado.
Jesus Salgado tried to take his own life as police were closing in Tuesday, according to USA Today.
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