In a tragic end to the horrific tale, all four Sikh family members, including an eight-month-old baby girl, who were kidnapped in the US state of California earlier this week, have been found dead in an orchard.
The family, originally from Harsi Pind in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, was kidnapped from their newly-opened trucking business in Merced County, California, on Monday.
The victims include 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, 27-year-old Jasleen Kaur, their eight-month-old child Aroohi Dheri and the baby's uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh who were found dead in an orchard near Indiana Road & Hutchinson Road Wednesday evening.
Family members said nothing was stolen from the trucking company but that their relatives were all wearing jewellery. After the kidnappings, an ATM card belonging to one of the victims was used in Atwater, about 14 kilometers north of Merced. The kidnapper made no ransom demands in what is being seen as a financially motivated crime.
Earlier in the day, the Merced County Sheriff's Office released a chilling new video showing the moment the family was kidnapped. Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh came out of the business with their hands zip-tied together. Moments later, the video shows the kidnapper leading Jasleen and her 8-month-old baby, Aroohi, out of the building into a truck.
Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, is a suspect in the case and attempted to kill himself. He was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and remains in the hospital in critical condition.
The shocking details about the kidnapping and subsequent death of the family has once again highlighted the high racial abuse and crimes Indian-Americans face in the US. This year alone has seen Indians being abused, beaten and even killed in the US as victims of gun violence, financial scams or racially motivated crimes targeting Indians.
‘Go back to India’
In August, four Indian-American women were racially abused and smacked by a Mexican-American woman in the U.S. State of Texas who hurled racist slurs at them that they are "ruining" America and should "go back to India".
"I hate you Indian. All these Indians come to America because they want a better life," the assaulter, Esmeralda Upton is seen saying in a video of the incident that went viral.
In yet another incident of racial abuse in August, an Indian-American Krishnan Jayaraman was racially abused and called a “disgusting Hindu” by Californian Rajinder Singh in a Taco Bell outlet in Fremont. During his tirade, Singh yelled ‘beef’ at Krishnan’s face and repeatedly used the N-word.
Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the US. Guns kill more than 38,000 people and cause nearly 85,000 injuries each year, according to the American Public Health Association. Indians-Americans are often victims of such vicolence.
In June, A 31-year-old Indian-origin man was shot dead in Queens while he sat in a borrowed SUV parked down the street from his home, days after an Indian national was killed after sustaining an apparent gunshot wound to his head in the US state of Maryland.
Satnam Singh was sitting behind the wheel of a black Jeep Wrangler Sahara that was parked in South Ozone Park when a gunman approached and started shooting at him around 3:45 pm on Saturday, a report in The New York Daily News said.
Days earlier, a 25-year-old man of Indian-origin, who was found injured inside a Sports Utility Vehicle after sustaining an apparent gunshot wound to his head succumbed to injuries in the state of Maryland. The person identified as Sai Charan Nakka, 25, was found injured with an apparent gunshot wound inside a silver Hyundai Tucson SUV, news portal wmar2news.com reported on Monday.
Killed for a car
In March, an Indian-origin doctor, Rakesh Patel, was killed by persons who allegedly stole his Mercedes Benz and hit him with the car in Washington. The victim was outside his car when the attackers hit him while fleeing in the vehicle.
Killed by roommate
A 20-year-old Indian-origin student was murdered on October 5 in his dormitory in the US state of Indiana. His Korean roommate has been arrested. The deceased has been identified as Varun Manish Chheda from Indianapolis, a student of Purdue University.
‘Get out of my country’
In 2019, when racial crimes were peaking, an Indian-American IT engineer employed by a US company was fatally shot and his Indian colleague was wounded by a white man who thought they were Middle Easterners and who was heard telling them to “get out of my country” at the time of the shooting. Srinivas Kuchibhotla was the first Indian-American to be killed in the Trump years.
(With inputs from PTI)