iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
Merced police who are probing the Singh family abduction case say that financial reasons could well be the most likely motive behind the abduction. The search for the missing family members, however, has yet not produced any results while the Merced police are waiting for the accused to regain consciousness to provide some information on their whereabouts.
On September 5 family members of the kidnap victims issued an appeal to the public to provide any tips or information that would help the police track down the missing persons.
During a press conference held on Wednesday, September 5, the police said that the suspect, Jesus Manuel Salgado (48), who had been arrested on October 4, had a prior history of robbery. He was arrested in 2010 and got out on parole in 2015. After that, the police know very little about what Salgado was doing since then. Now, the police are waiting for the suspect to regain consciousness to reveal the whereabouts of the victims. Salgado, said police, is under medically induced sedation at a medical facility where he was admitted after he tried to kill himself.
“We want him to be in a position to start answering our questions. He is our sole lead and it is very important that he is in a position to speak to us. Right now, our focus is to first get the family back,” said a Merced police official.
On October 4, 2022, in the morning hours, Merced County Sheriff Detectives received information that one of the victim’s ATM cards was used at an ATM located at a bank in the City of Atwater. At approximately noon, working in conjunction with local law enforcement partners, the Sheriff’s Office received information that identified Salgado as a person of interest in this investigation. Prior to law enforcement involvement, Salgado attempted to take his own life. Salgado is in police custody, currently receiving medical attention, and in critical condition.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office during Wednesday’s press conference regarding the kidnapping that took place on October 3rd refused to divulge any further details about the transaction that was carried out at the ATM. The police investigators however did reveal that the ATM transaction is one of the factors that is being probed along with other financial aspects. The police said that the ATM transaction has added to their belief that money is one of the primary reasons behind the abduction.
During the press conference a visibly shaken brother, Sukhdeep Singh who was on the verge of tears as he made an earnest appeal to people to help locate the missing persons. He urged shops, and gas stations to check their CCTV footage and report to the police if they have any information. “We need public help right now. Please help us out, come forward so that my family can return home safe,” he said.
“This is a peace-loving family, running a small business. They have been living in this area for a long time. We are devastated, shocked, and dying every moment, not finding any clues. If anyone has seen anything, even a small interaction, at a gas station or somebody buying something, any small lead could get us to our family,” said another family member Balwinder Singh.
At the press conference the police said: At approximately 11:39 am, teams of California Highway Patrol and Cal Fire were dispatched to Buhach Road and Oakdale Road in Winton for a report of a vehicle on fire. The vehicle was later identified to be a black 2020 Dodge Ram truck. Later, the California Highway Patrol – Merced arrived on the scene to start the investigation.
At approximately 12:35 pm, California Highway Patrol requested the assistance of Merced Police Department in an attempt to contact the registered owner of the vehicle, Amandeep Singh. When the Merced Police Department arrived at the residence, they were not able to make contact with Amandeep however, they were able to reach another family member.
“The family members attempted to contact Jasleen Kaur, Jasdeep Singh, and Amandeep Singh. When they were not able to reach their family members, they called the Merced County Sheriff’s Office to report Jasleen, Jasdeep, Amandeep, and 8-month-old, Aroohi missing,” MHP said.
“At approximately 1:04 pm, our Office was notified and responded to a business on South Highway 59. During the primary investigation, Detectives determined that the individuals were kidnapped. We are working with the California Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and other local law enforcement agencies to bring this family home safely,” an MHP official said.