Brothers Charged with Murder and Kidnapping of Family of Four in Merced, California 

Sabeen Al-Khasib, Staff Writer

MERCED, Calif. Oct. 5 –  Jesus Manuel and Alberto Salgado were arrested on the account of kidnapping and murdering of a family of four. Family members include eight-month-old Ahoori Dheri, 27-year-old mother Jasleen Kaur, 36-year-old father Jasdeep Singh, and uncle Amandeep Singh, aged 39. 

The family was reported missing on Oct. 3 after their family truck was found on fire 10 miles from the county. Their bodies were found on Oct. 5, two days after the initial sighting of the lit truck. Merced police report that their bodies were found in a remote farm area of Dos Palos, about 27 miles from the city. Merced Sheriff Vernon Warnke believes the family was killed at the stated location but is unable to disclose the reason why their bodies were found there. 

Surveillance footage shows when and how the kidnapping and murder took place. Around 8:30 a.m. on Oct.3, the Singh brothers had shown up at their family-owned trucking business in Merced county. About half an hour later, a man shows up on the site with what appears to be a firearm stashed inside a trash bag. Within minutes, the Singh brothers have their hands tied and are escorted into a truck. The truck leaves their business but returns to the site seven minutes later with Jasleen and Ahoori.

Since the incident and the discovery of the victims, Warnke has released information about the suspect, Jesus Manuel. The suspect has been arrested on the account of kidnap and murder, while his brother, Alberto Salgado, was arrested on the account of conspiracy and destruction of evidence. Salgado was arrested on Oct. 6  due to an anonymous tip given to police, while Manuel was arrested through evidence caught on nearby surveillance cameras. Salgado attempted suicide to avoid prosecution, but was unsuccessful and is now sedated in the hospital.  

Reporters believe that the crime was financially motivated due to Salgado’s termination from the family business and the subsequent feud between the perpetrator and the family, dating back to 2004. Salgado was fired under suspicion of stealing money from the family business.  In retaliation, Salgado robbed the enterprise and held the family hostage in 2005. Salgado was arrested and sent to jail in 2007, later to be released in 2011. Warnke has not confirmed any narrative regarding the motives behind the crime, although the sheriff speculated the source to be “out of money or anger, and it could be the both of those apply here,” as shared in a KTVU press statement.

The county of Merced held a candle-lit vigil to honor the family members on Oct. 6, with Merced residents and local religious groups in attendance. Family members of the victims came forward in remembrance, describing them as hard-working and peace-loving.