California Sikh family's murder: Suspect ‘was unhappy ex-worker’
A man arrested in connection with the kidnapping and killings of four Indian-origin Sikh family members, including a baby girl, who used to work for their trucking business and had a longstanding feud with them that got “pretty nasty” and led to their senseless murder, authorities and a relative said.
The bodies of 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur, their eight-month-old child Aroohi Dheri and the baby’s uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh were found on Wednesday evening in a rural orchard in the US state of California after they were kidnapped at gunpoint on Monday.
Authorities said they were kidnapped from the family’s trucking business in the central California city of Merced, and parts of the kidnapping were captured on surveillance video. Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was formally arrested late on Thursday on four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping in the case, Merced County sheriff’s spokesperson Alexandra Britton said.
Police said, Salgado, a convicted felon, tried killing himself before being taken into custody on Tuesday.“The primary suspect in the kidnapping and murder, Salgado, is a former employee who used to drive for the victim’s trucking company.
They had a disagreement and parted ways,” a relative of the deceased family was quoted as saying by the NBC Bay Area television station. The relative also said that baby Aroohi Dheri was left for dead and died from exposure. Warnke also said that he believes there might be a second person involved in the kidnapping and killings, but investigators are still collecting evidence. “If that person is watching, might as well turn yourself in,” Warnke said.
“Our detectives are like bulldogs. They’re not going to give up. Once we find or determine that there was in fact a second person, they’re going to go after and go after hard,” he said.
The longstanding dispute between Salgado and the victims “got pretty nasty,” Warnke was quoted as saying by KTVU television station. Relatives of the family told investigators that Salgado had sent angry text messages or emails about a year ago after working with the trucking business, Warnke said.
Family members said nothing was stolen from the trucking company but that their relatives were all wearing jewellery. Warnke had said that after the kidnappings, an ATM card belonging to one of the victims was used in Atwater.
Public records show the family, originally from Harsi Pind in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, owned Unison Trucking Inc.Family members said they had recently opened an office for it in a parking lot the Singh brothers also operated. Aman-deep, the baby’s uncle, is survived by his wife and two children in their teens.
India on Friday described the murders as “shocking” and said its mission in San Fran-cisco is following up on the matter with local authorities.
“We are aware of the incident. The police are actively probing the matter. Our mission in San Francisco is following up on it,” external affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.