Crime and Courts

Disturbing Video Shows Moments California Family Was Kidnapped as Search Continues

Relatives of the four missing family members, including an 8-month-old girl, her mother, father and uncle, pleaded for the public's help to find them as a 'person of interest' remained in a coma and sheriff's deputies seek a second suspect

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What to Know

  • Eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39 were kidnapped at gunpoint from their Merced business on Monday.
  • Newly released video shows the terrifying moments the family is led out of the business by an unknown kidnapper, with the two men's hands zip tied.
  • A man described as a "person of interest," who told some of his family that he had been involved, remains hospitalized following a suicide attempt. Investigators believe a second person is involved.

Relatives of a family kidnapped at gunpoint from their trucking business in central California pleaded for help Wednesday in the search for an 8-month-old girl, her mother, father and uncle.

Authorities at a news conference Wednesday showed surveillance video of a man kidnapping the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39 from their Merced business on Monday.

Family members said nothing was stolen from the trucking company but that their relatives were all wearing jewelry. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said that after the kidnapping, an ATM card belonging to one of the victims was used in Atwater, a city about 9 miles (14 kilometers) north of Merced.

Relatives of the victims asked anyone who owns a convenience store or gas station in the area to check their surveillance cameras for images of the suspect or the family. They said they were worried the baby wasn’t being fed because the family didn’t have any baby food with them at the time of the kidnapping.

“Please help us out, come forward, so my family comes home safe,” Sukhdeep Singh, a brother of the victims, said, his voice breaking.

Relatives of Jesus Salgado, 48, contacted authorities reporting that he had admitted to them he was involved with the kidnapping of the family, Warnke said on Tuesday. Salgado tried to take his own life before police arrived at a home in Atwater, and he has since been hospitalized, he said.

Warnke said the kidnapper made no ransom demands.

Family members told another news outlet that the trucking company office had only opened about a week earlier.

“My husband is very peaceful and calm person. We don’t have any clue why they kidnapped them,” said Jaspreet Caur, wife of the kidnapped uncle.

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

The sheriff's office said that firefighters on Monday found a pickup truck belonging to Amandeep Singh that was on fire. Merced Police Department officers went to Amandeep Singh's home, where a family member tried to reach him and the couple. When they were not able to reach their family members, they called the Merced County Sheriff’s office to report them missing, the office said.

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

Sheriff's officials in central California released photos of a possible suspect in the kidnapping of four members of a family, including an 8-month-old child.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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