Murder charges filed against suspect in kidnapping of family in Merced County

Merced County Sheriff's Office

(NEW YORK) -- The Merced County District Attorney filed charges on Monday against a suspect in the alleged kidnapping and murder of four family members in California.

Charges against Jesus Manuel Salgado include four counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, officials said.

"Special Circumstances allege that the murders were committed during the commission of a kidnapping and that there were multiple murders in the same case," the statement said.

Salgado made his first court appearance in Merced Superior Court on Monday, ABC News' Fresno station KSFN-TV reported. He's accused of kidnapping four family members, who were later found dead in a rural almond orchard.

Eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri and her parents -- 27-year-old mother Jasleen Kaur and 36-year-old father Jasdeep Singh -- had allegedly been taken against their will from a business, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said. The baby's uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh, was also allegedly kidnapped, the sheriff said.

The charges filed on Monday against Salgado -- which also include arson and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person -- carry a possible sentence of life in prison without parole, the district attorney's office said on Monday.

"District Attorney Kimberly Lewis will not be making a decision regarding the death penalty in 2022," the office said in a statement. "The People are preserving their right to pursue the death penalty in the future."

Salgado's brother, Alberto Salgado, has been arrested but not charged, KSFN reported.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 6:30AM by Kevin Shalvey, ABC News Permalink