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California Sikh family murder: Relative says suspect was disgruntled former worker


A relative of the Indian-origin Sikh family members, who were kidnapped and killed in California, last week has said that the suspect in the case used to work for the family’s trucking business and had a longstanding feud with them. The relative said that the feud got “pretty nasty” and led to their senseless murder.

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 last week in a rural orchard in the US state of California after they were kidnapped at gunpoint two days before.

The authorities have said that the family was kidnapped in Merced and parts of the kidnapping were captured on surveillance video.

Suspect in the murder of the California family, 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, was formally arrested a day later the bodies were discovered. The accused has been arrested on four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping, Merced County sheriff’s spokesperson Alexandra Britton said.

Police said that Jesus Manuel Salgado tried killing himself before he was taken into custody.

“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 said. The relative said the couple’s baby Aroohi Dheri was left for dead and died from exposure.

County Sheriff Vern Warnke said that he believes there might be a second person involved in the kidnapping and killings. “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.

Warnke also said that the dispute between the accused and the victims “got pretty nasty”. He added that the accused had sent angry text messages and emails after working in the Sikh family’s trucking business.

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.

Amandeep, the baby’s uncle, is survived by his wife and two children in their teens. Warnke also said that it appeared that the family was killed before they were reported missing.

(With agency inputs)

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