California Kidnapping Suspect’s Former Victim Shares Chilling Story

Merced County Sheriff’s Office
Merced County Sheriff’s Office

The family of four who were kidnapped Monday at gunpoint have been discovered dead, authorities confirmed late Wednesday night, as details begin to emerge about their suspected kidnapper’s violent past.

Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke announced the deaths in a press conference, saying “our worst fears have been confirmed,” with the missing family members’ bodies located in an “extremely remote” area.

The kidnapping itself was captured on closed circuit TV, which showed the masked suspect entering a business in California’s Central Valley before escorting the victims outside moments later with their hands zip-tied behind them.

The kidnapping itself was captured on closed circuit TV, which showed the masked suspect entering a business in California’s Central Valley before escorting the victims outside moments later with their hands zip-tied behind them.

<div class="inline-image__credit">Merced County Sheriff’s Office</div>
Merced County Sheriff’s Office

The infant, Aroohi Dheri, and parents Jasleen Kaur, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 36, along with an uncle, Amandeep Singh, 39, were all “taken against their will,” cops confirmed Monday.

Investigators were continuing their work at the scene overnight Wednesday with a crime lab from the Department of Justice involved in processing. Sheriff Warnke said he got the call at around 5:30 p.m. from a farm worker in the area who stumbled across the bodies “during the course of his job duties.” Police and detectives arrived shortly afterward.

The family were found “relatively close together,” Sheriff Warnke said. He described the area where the bodies were found as “extremely remote,” adding, “not a lot of folks come down here.”

“There’s no words right now to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident. There’s a special place in hell for this guy and I mean it. What we’re going to deal with tonight is bad, and we’re going to have to be out here all night having to deal with it.”

The suspected kidnapper, identified as ex-convict Jesus Salgado, 48, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon.

Salgado was previously convicted of first-degree robbery, attempted false imprisonment, and dissuading a witness related to a 2005 home invasion. He pleaded no contest and served eight years in prison.

Now, a victim from that terrifying night has spoke out, detailing Salgado’s heinous acts nearly two decades ago that are eerily similar to what was captured by security cameras on Monday.

The 2005 victim, who owned a trucking company like the family in Merced, told CBS47 that Salgado was his employee for two years before he fired him.

After his termination, Salgado went rogue and showed up at the home of his former boss in December 2005.

The man, who was not identified by the station, opened up his front door to see Salgado there with a ski mask and a gun. Salgado then pointed a gun at the back of his head, he said, and forced his way inside.

There, Salgado restrained the man, his wife, and their 16-year-old daughter with duct tape as he robbed them blind, taking “all the money we had, rings, that kind of stuff.”

Already traumatized, Salgado then marched the family to their backyard pool and forced them in, the man said. Before he left, he threatened the family: “If you call the police, I will kill you.”

The homeowner called 911 and Salgado was arrested the following day, CBS47 reported. Now, 18 years later, it appears Salgado may have taken his terror to another level—this time with a “whole family wiped out,” Sheriff Warnke said.

In an emotional press conference Wednesday, Warnke said he hopes the victims’ family “can have some closure at least,” despite it not being “the closure we were hoping for.”

Salgado tried to kill himself Wednesday “prior to law enforcement involvement,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing law enforcement officials. He was in critical condition as of Wednesday and was still hospitalized on Thursday.

Before he was captured, cops told CBS47 that Salgado had used one of the victim’s debit cards at an ATM. His own family members also tipped off authorities, calling 911 to say “he was responsible for kidnappings.”

The bodies of the family were ultimately found by a rancher in an orchard field near Dos Palos, cops said.

Sheriff Warnke said cops were still trying to figure out what happened, though he had seen the scene of the crime and confirmed investigators will be “very methodical.”

“It sucks on many levels,” he said. “Horrible, senseless as to what happened here.”

Despite Sheriff Warnke initially saying police were unaware of the killer’s motivations, he told CBS47 on Thursday that it was related to “money or anger.” Warnke said Salgado was still recovering in the hospital but, once he’s released, he hopes the district attorney’s office will file for the death penalty.

“You’re dealing with a child here,” the sheriff said. “I’m just livid inside because this was completely and totally senseless, we have a whole family wiped out.”

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