Jesus Manuel Salgado: What we know about the man charged with kidnap and murder of California family

Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was charged with four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 06 October 2022 18:53 BST
Sheriff holds press briefing on Merced family kidnapping
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Sheriff’s deputies in central California confirmed their “worst fears” had come true this week when a mother, father, eight-month-old baby and her uncle were found dead two days after being kidnapped at gunpoint.

On Wednesday night, Merced County Sheriff Vernon H Warnke said that the bodies of eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her mother Jasleen Kaur, 27, father Jasdeep Singh, 36, and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, had been found in a remote orchard near Indiana Road and Hutchins Road in Merced County.

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

Authorities had been tipped off by 48-year-old Jesus Salgado’s family that he was likely involved in the kidnapping. Before he was taken into custody on Tuesday, Salgado attempted to take his own life, the Merced County Sheriff’s office said.

On Thursday, Salgado was charged with four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping over the brutal slayings.

On Friday, the sheriff’s office announced the arrest of Salgado’s brother as an accomplice in the brutal crimes.

Officials have not revealed how the family died but said they believe they were killed where their remains were discovered not long after the abduction.

New details have also emerged about Jesus Salgado’s connection to the victims.

Here’s what we know:

Who is Jesus Manuel Salgado?

The 48-year-old was first taken into custody on Tuesday as a “person of interest” in the case, the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Facebook, while the family remained missing at that time.

Salgado’s arrest came after his family informed sheriff’s deputies that he admitted to being involved in the kidnapping of the family of four.

Before his arrest, Salgado attempted to take his own life and he was taken to hospital in an ambulance for treatment.

Jesus Manuel Salgado has been taken into custody in connection with the kidnapping of a family of four in Merced, California (Merced County Sheriff’s Office))

On Thursday morning, he remained in hospital in critical condition with deputies unable to speak with him, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

But later that day, authorities announced that Mr Salgado had been transferred from hospital and booked into the Merced County Jail on four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping.

“Our Detectives, alongside investigators from assisting agencies, will continue to follow up on any leads of additional people who may have been involved in this horrific incident,” the sheriff’s office said.

What is the motivation?

On Thursday, authorities said that Salgado was seeking revenge on the family after being fired from their business.

Salgado, 48, drove a truck for trucking business Unison Parking in Merced but was let go sometime last year, Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke said in a press conference. It is not clear when he was fired or why.

However, Salgado carried out an eerily similar attack on another past employer back in 2005.

He worked for a different family-owned trucking company for around two years but was fired for unknown reasons.

Then, one night in December 2005, he turned up at the owner’s family home dressed in a ski mask and armed with a gun.

The victim told CBS47that Salgado tied him up, as well as his wife, 16-year-old daughter and his daughter’s friend before robbing them.

Salgado then forced all the victims into the pool and threatened to kill them if they called the police, before leaving the home.

In 2007, Salgado was convicted of first-degree robbery with a firearm, attempted false imprisonment, and dissuading a witness over the incident.

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison. One month later, he was also sentenced to eight months for possession of a controlled substance.

In 2015, he was released – after serving eight years of his sentence.

The four family members kidnapped and killed (Merced County Sheriff’s Office)

Sheriff Warnke compared the two cases on Thursday saying: “I think this is the same kind of thing.”

At an earlier press conference on Wednesday, the sheriff’s office suggested that Salgado could have been motivated by financial gain.

“So far my speculation is that its financial,” the sheriff said. “Until we prove otherwise, and again we don’t believe there’s a hate crime involved.”

He continued: “We just think that this guy, because of his history, he’s a robber, a thief, he needs to be in prison, ok? That’s where he needs to be, and hopefully we can get him to communicate with us”.

Is anybody else invovled?

Salgado’s brother Alberto Salgado was arrested on Thursday night on charges of criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence and booked into the same jail housing his brother.

Investigators previously said that they were seeking at least one more perpetrator they believed helped Salgado carry out the heinous abductions and murders, but had stopped short of naming any suspect on their radar.

“Seeing everything that’s gone on, I fully believe that there is at least one other person involved but we don’t have any evidence to support that,” the sheriff said on Wednesday.

“It’s just the circumstances surrounding this”.

It is currently unclear exactly what role authorities believe Alberto Salgado played.

But on Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies said they received an alert from a bank in the City of Atwater, about 10 miles northeast of Merced, where a bank card belonging to one of the victims had been used at an ATM.

The sheriff’s office said the man pictured on CCTV using the bank card was not Jesus Salgado.

How did the kidnapping occur?

The family of four– including the eight-month-old baby – were taken against their will from their business in Merced on Monday on Monday morning.

Surveillance footage captured the moment on camera.

In the footage, Jasdeep is seen arriving at the business at 8.30am on Monday morning, followed by Amandeep nine minutes later.

Just before 9am, Jasdeep is confronted by a man outside the business who appears to pull a gun from a white trash bag he was carrying.

Around 10 minutes later, Jasdeep and Amandeep are seen being led out of the building with their hands tied behind their backs and placed in a truck.

The truck drives off but returns minutes later, with the footage capturing the suspect entering the business again – this time leading Jasleen out at gunpoint.

The mother is cradling her eight-month-old baby daughter in her arms.

The burned vehicle was found abandoned hours later.

On Wednesday, a farm worker found the remains of all four victims in a nearby orchard.

Sheriff Warnke has described the assailants actions as “pure evil” saying there is “a special place in hell” for the killer.

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