The man involved in the kidnapping and killing of an Indian-origin Sikh family , including an eight-month-old baby, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, one for each life lost, authorities in California said.
The Sikh family of four, 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her 27-year-old mother Jasleen Kaur, her 36-year-old father Jasdeep Singh, and her 39-year-old uncle Amandeep Singh were kidnapped and killed by a former disgruntled employee of their trucking company last week.
Jesus Salgado, the man involved in the kidnapping and killing was arrested on October 6. He was charged on Monday with four counts of first-degree murder, one for each life lost, prosecutors were quoted as saying by the Los AngelesTimes.
The Merced County district attorney’s office said in a news release that it would not make a determination this year on whether to pursue the death penalty in the case of Salgado, 48.
District Attorney Kimberly Lewis declined to comment on the case beyond the charges. Salgado is set to be arraigned later on Monday.
Salgado was charged in the deaths of Jasdeep, his wife, Jasleen; their daughter, and Singh’s brother Amandeep, the report said.
The investigation into the disappearance of the family began on October 3 after police found Amandeep's truck on fire in the town of Winton.
When the family members could not locate Amandeep or his brother and sister-in-law, or the couple’s baby, they reported the family as missing.
The search led investigators with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office to the family business, Unison Trucking, where video surveillance showed a suspect abducting the family at gunpoint and leading them away in the truck.
Meanwhile, the grieving relatives of the four Indian-origin Sikhs killed in the US have raised more than USD 300,000 to support their families in California but also their elderly parents back in India.
A GoFundMe fundraiser is collecting funds for the Singhs' extended family and has raised more than USD 300,000, according to abc7news.com.
Jaspreet Kaur, Amandeep's widow, said in the fundraiser that her husband and his brother had been in the United States for 18 years and supported not only their families in California but also their elderly parents back in India.
Salgado attempted suicide last Tuesday as investigators zeroed in on him as a suspect in the case, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. He was held in the hospital for two days and was then booked into jail.
Salgado also faces charges of illegal possession of a firearm and arson for allegedly setting fire to the truck. His brother, Alberto Salgado, was also arrested in the case on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, accessory and destroying evidence.
Salgado spent nearly a decade in prison for holding another family at gunpoint and robbing it in its garage in 2005.