Jasleen Kaur, 27, her husband Jasdeep Singh, 36, their eight-month-old baby daughter Aroohi Dheri, and Singh’s brother Amandeep, 39, were all found dead on Wednesday afternoon, some 48 hours after they were kidnapped at gunpoint from their business office in Merced, California.
The motive for the crime is not known but it is believed to be financial. Just hours before the bodies were found in a rural California shack, police released surveillance footage of the family being led out of their new trucking business with their hands bound in zip cables.
They are believed to have been killed by Jesus Manuel Salgado – a 48-year-old criminal who was tracked down after trying to use one of the victim’s ATM cards. Salgado was convicted of armed robbery of another trucking family in 2005 and had spent 11 years in prison. He is currently in hospital after attempting to kill himself as police were closing in on him.
Jesus Salgado is suspected of kidnapping the Sikh family at gunpoint in central California (AP)
California Sikhs, many of them descendants of settlers who arrived on the west coast more than a century ago, are majorly into agriculture and the trucking business. The state also elected the first ever Asian lawmaker, Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, who served three terms in the House of Representatives in the 1950s. The community earlier last week lost Didar Singh Bains, 84, America’s biggest peach farmer and one of the wealthiest agriculturists in the US.
Jasdeep Singh’s family was of relatively newer origins and hailed from Harsi Pind in Hoshiarpur. They had only recently started their trucking business, according to local reports.
“There is no words to describe the anger I feel, and the senselessness of this incident,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said on Wednesday night after the bodies were discovered. “There’s a special place in hell for this guy (the alleged perpetrator).”