Merced, CA – The man whom prosecutors said kidnapped and murdered four family members – including a baby – last week in California made his first court appearance on Monday after he was released from the hospital.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado was booked into its jail charged with four counts of kidnapping and four counts of murder with special circumstances, The Fresno Bee reported.
He is also charged with arson and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, WDBJ reported.
Salgado tried to commit suicide before authorities took him into custody on Oct. 4 and had been undergoing medical treatment following the failed attempt.
His brother, 41-year-old Alberto Salgado, has also been arrested in connection with the horrific crime, WDBJ reported.
The younger sibling has been charged with criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence in connection with his brother’s crimes.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the bodies of eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri; her mother, 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur; her father, 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh; and her uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh were found “relatively close together” in a remote orchard on Oct. 5, The Fresno Bee reported.
A Sikh family in California was kidnapped and found killed on a rural farm — an 8-month-old girl, her parents and uncle.
The suspect accused of abducting them at gunpoint from their business in Merced is in custody, under medical sedation. Police have not confirmed a motive. pic.twitter.com/1TG8dquiau
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 6, 2022
Sheriff Warnke refused to tell reporters about the condition of the adults’ bodies but said the baby had no visible trauma and it was unclear what had killed her, WDBJ reported.
The sheriff has called for Salgado to face the death penalty for the murders.
Merced County District Attorney Kimberly Lewis said she wouldn’t make a decision about going for the death penalty until next year, WDBJ reported.
The kidnapping, for which authorities still have no motive, occurred just after 1 p.m. on Oct. 3, KFSN reported.
The sheriff’s department released video on Oct. 5 that showed portions of the kidnapping and clearly showed the suspect taking out a handgun before he followed one of the family members inside the business.
Authorities had been searching for the family, which included an eight-month-old baby girl, for three days.
The video released on Oct. 5 showed brothers Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh with their arms zip-tied behind their backs being marched out of the business at gunpoint.
Then the suspect put the restrained men in the backseat of a waiting pickup truck, the video showed.
A large dog who appears tied up in the backyard could be seen barking as the kidnapping took place.
The video showed the suspect drove the pickup truck away from the business but returned a few minutes later and went back inside.
A moment later, the suspect stepped out of the business still holding a weapon in his hand and then Kaur came out of the trailer holder baby Aroohi.
The gunman marched baby and mother to the waiting pickup truck, helped them get inside, and then drove away, the video showed.
Police took Salgado into custody on Oct. 4 shortly after he tried to kill himself, KFSN reported.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said family members of Salgado had contacted authorities and reported that he had admitted he was involved in the kidnapping.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office said Salgado was arrested for a similar incident in December of 2005.
He was charged with home invasion robbery with a gun, witness intimidation, and attempted false imprisonment but his victims were not hurt, KFSN reported.
Salgado was released from prison in June of 2015.
He is due to return to court on Thursday, WDBJ reported.