Central California kidnapping: Person of interest in custody in Merced kidnapping, 4 family members still not found

MERCED, California– A person interested in the kidnapping of four family members in central California’s Merced County was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The four family members, including an 8-month-old infant, were not found. The family was abducted at gunpoint from a store in Merced on Monday, the sheriff’s office said, without giving further details.

“We continue to appeal to the public for help with any information that may help us determine the family’s whereabouts,” the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office says 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, the person of interest, is in critical condition in the hospital after attempting suicide.

Authorities say MPs have been informed that one of the victim’s ATM cards was used at a bank in Atwater, a town about 9 miles north of Merced.

RELATED: 4 family members kidnapped from Merced store, picture of suspect released

Detectives obtained information identifying Salgado as a person of interest and that he attempted suicide before police arrived, authorities said in a statement, without specifying where he was taken into custody.

The sheriff’s office said his own family contacted authorities and reported that Salgado admitted to them that he was involved in the family’s kidnapping.

The sheriff’s office will hold a press conference Wednesday to provide more details.

The kidnapper took the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and Uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke in a video posted to Facebook Monday.

Warnke said the kidnapper made no ransom demands or contact of any kind.

Family members told KXTV-TV the family, who owns a trucking company, were pulled from an office they opened just about a week earlier.

“My husband is a very peaceful and calm person. We have no idea why they kidnapped him,” said Jaspreet Caur, the kidnapped uncle’s wife.

The sheriff’s department released two surveillance stills of a possible suspect on Monday, asking the public for help in identifying the man. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark shorts and a light blue disposable face mask.

The sheriff said detectives believe the kidnapper destroyed unspecified evidence to cover his tracks.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement Tuesday that Amandeep Singh’s vehicle was set on fire around 11:40 a.m. Monday. Merced police and family members were unable to contact him or the couple. Shortly thereafter, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office responded to the matter and determined that they had been kidnapped.

The sheriff’s office said the FBI, the California Department of Justice and other local law enforcement agencies are helping with the investigation.

Warnke says his investigators still have no motive for the kidnapping, but it’s not the first time Salgado has held victims against their will.

According to the Merced County District Attorney’s Office, a similar incident occurred in December 2005. Salgado ended up in jail on charges of burglary with a firearm, intimidation of witnesses and attempted deprivation of liberty. The victims were not injured.

He was released in June 2015.

Meanwhile, family members of the kidnapped victims are praying for their loved ones to be found alive.

“Please, I have a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old and they are waiting for their father,” Caur said. “Please, please send my family back. Please send my family back.”

KFSN-TV and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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https://abc13.com/california-kidnapping-merced-abduction-jesus-manuel-salgado-suspect-in-custody/12295287/ Central California kidnapping: Person of interest in custody in Merced kidnapping, 4 family members still not found

Russell Falcon

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