The family was found dead two days after they were abducted from their business on Oct 3
A California man has been charged in the kidnapping and killings of four members of an Indian American family including an eight-month-old baby girl.
Prosecutors Monday accused Jesus Salgado of kidnapping Aroohi Dheri; her 27-year-old mother Jasleen Kaur; her 36-year-old father Jasdeep Singh; and her 39-year-old uncle Amandeep Singh at gunpoint from their trucking business on Oct 3.
Read: Kidnapped Indian American family of four found dead (October 6, 2022)
Salgado, a former employee with a longstanding dispute, likely killed them within an hour, prosecutors said. A farm worker in an almond orchard in a remote area of the San Joaquin Valley, California’s agricultural heartland, discovered the remains late last Wednesday.
Salgado, 48, tried to kill himself a day after the kidnappings before he was taken into custody. He faces four counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday.
If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The special circumstances allege that the slayings were committed during the commission of a kidnapping and were part of multiple killings in the same case.
Salgado appeared in court on Monday on video wearing a safety smock, KFSN reported. He did not enter a plea and asked for more time to find an attorney. He is scheduled to return to court on Thursday.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke last week called for Salgado to face the death penalty, but District Attorney Kimberly Lewis on Monday said she would defer that decision to next year.
Read: Kidnapped Indian American family of four still missing (October 5, 2022)
Salgado is also charged with arson and the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He was previously convicted of first-degree robbery with the use of a firearm in Merced County and sentenced to 11 years in state prison in 2007, but was paroled in 2015.
Salgado’s younger brother Alberto Salgado, 41, was arrested late Thursday and accused of criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence.
Mandeep Bhela a family member of the victims told KFSN seeing Salgado in the courtroom was painful.
“We understand that this can be excruciatingly painfully slow, but we will support law enforcement, the system and the way that it needs to be done so that we can make sure that justice is truly served at the end of the day,” he was quoted as saying.