Investigators are still working to determine a motive after a family of four was found dead days after being kidnapped from their trucking company.
The family was reported missing on Monday, October 3rd after their relatives were unable to contact them. Surveillance footage later revealed the mother, father, baby, and uncle being kidnapped at gunpoint from their newly opened trucking company office in Merced, California.
According to CNN, the surveillance video shows the father, Jasdeep Singh, arriving at the business around 8:30 a.m., and Armandeep Singh, the uncle, is seen arriving nine minutes later. Just before 9 a.m. Jasdeep is seen encountering a man outside of the business. The man appeared to be carrying a trash bag and pulled out a firearm. Several minutes later the footage shows Jasdeep and Amandeep with their hands tied behind their backs as they are put into a truck. The truck leaves, and returns six minutes later. The suspect then reenters the business and exits again with a gun in hand, escorting Jasleen Kaur, the mother, as she holds 8-month-old Aroohi, to the truck.
Later on Monday, a farmer found cell phones on a rural road and answered one that was ringing. The farmer spoke to the relatives of the victims and determined that the phones belonged to the kidnapped family.
On Wednesday evening, October 5th, a farm worker found the bodies of 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri in an orchard in Merced County, and her parents’ bodies were discovered nearby. The uncle’s body was also found in the same vicinity.
Investigators have not disclosed how the family was killed, but they believe that the family was killed before they were even reported missing on Monday. It is also believed the family was killed at the location where their bodies were discovered. The area was described as an “extremely rural farm area, not a lot of folks come out here,” reported CBS.
Investigators have still not found a motive behind the killings, but do have a suspect in custody.
“A whole family wiped out, and we still don’t know why,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said during a news conference on Wednesday.
No charges have been filed against 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, but he remains in custody as investigators work with him to find a motive. Authorities say that they believe Salgado is the main suspect, but that other people were likely involved.
“I fully believe that we will uncover and find out that there was more than just him involved,” Warnke noted.
Salgado attempted suicide before authorities could take him into custody on Tuesday, but was unsuccessful and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He has since remained sedated because authorities “didn’t want him thrashing around,” Warnke said earlier Wednesday. “I can tell you every time he has come near consciousness, he’s been violent.”
Salgado’s family has since contacted law enforcement and said that Salgado admitted to them that he was involved in the kidnapping.
Salgado has a prior criminal record including a 2005 case involving armed robbery and false imprisonment, during which he acted alone and knew the victims. He was paroled in 2015.
“The circumstances around this, when we are able to release everything, should anger the hell out of you,” said Warnke, “There’s a special place in hell for this guy.”