Why did Jesus Manuel Salgado kidnap the California Sikh family? Motive explored as murder charges filed against the suspect

Jesus Manuel Salgado charged against the murder of California Sikh Family (Image via Merced County Sheriff )
Jesus Manuel Salgado charged against the murder of California Sikh Family (Image via Merced County Sheriff )

The Merced County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, that Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, a person who is wanted in the recent kidnapping of a California Sikh family, had been taken into custody. The accused was apprehended after being spotted by surveillance cameras at a bank in Atwater.

It was reportedly confirmed on Wednesday night, October 5, that the four members were allegedly murdered two days after being kidnapped at gunpoint. Salgado was subsequently charged with four charges of murder and four counts of kidnapping in connection with the gruesome killings.

Authorities said that Jesus Manuel Salgado sought revenge on the family after being fired from their business.

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The remains of eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her mother Jasleen Kaur, 27, father Jasdeep Singh, 36, and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, were discovered in a rural orchard in Merced County, according to Merced County Sheriff Vernon H Warnke.

Merced County Sheriff Vernon H Warnke said:

“There’s no words right now to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident. I said it earlier, there’s a special place in hell for this guy, and I mean it”.

A look at Jesus Manuel Salgado's motive behind the kidnapping of a California Sikh Family

As per court documents, California fire departments responded to a complaint of a burning 2020 Dodge Ram pickup in Winton on October 3, 2022. Investigations showed that Amandeep Singh was the owner of the vehicle. However, there was no way to get in touch with him.

Shortly after, when Singh's family could not contact him, they reported his brother Jasdeep Singh, his wife Jasleen Kaur, and their little daughter missing.

At around one o'clock, the family was taken hostage on the 800 block of South Highway 59 in the southern part of Merced. They were subsequently reported missing on Monday, October 3.

On Tuesday morning, Merced County Sheriff Detectives received information that one of the victims' ATM cards had been used in Atwater. Following this, Jesus Manuel Salgado was identified from surveillance footage and fitted the description of the individual who was seen at the location of the kidnapping.

Merced County Sheriff's Office statement read:

"On October 4, 2022, in the morning hours, Merced County Sheriff Detectives received information that one of the victim’s ATM cards was used at an ATM located at a bank in the City of Atwater. Investigators obtained the surveillance photo of a subject making a bank transaction where the person is similar in appearance to the surveillance photo from the original kidnapping scene."

Salgado, 48, operated a vehicle for Unison Parking in Merced, California, but was fired at a certain point last year, according to Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke. The reasons for allegedly expelling him were unknown.

However, Jesus Manuel Salgado launched a startlingly identical assault against another former employer in 2005. He spent about two years working for a separate family-run trucking business before being let go for an unspecified reason.

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Edited by Sayati Das