Brother of suspect in killing of California family arrested, deputies say

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — Sheriff’s deputies on Friday announced the arrest of a second man in connection with the deaths of four members of a Central California family, including an 8-month-old baby.

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Authorities arrested Alberto Salgado on charges of criminal conspiracy, accessory and destroying evidence on Thursday. Officials identified him as the brother of Jesus Manuel Salgado, the man earlier charged with four counts each of murder and kidnapping in the deaths of 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri; her parents, Jasleen Kaur, 27, and 36-year-old Jasdeep Singh, 36; and her uncle, Amandeep Singh, 39.

Authorities said a farm worker discovered the family members dead in a rural almond orchard on Wednesday, two days after investigators said they were kidnapped by Jesus Salgado.

Surveillance video shared by deputies showed the Singh brothers on Monday with their hands zip-tied behind their backs as a man, identified as Jesus Salgado, led them at gunpoint from the family’s business to Amandeep Singh’s pickup truck, The Associated Press reported. The truck left and returned a short while later, surveillance video showed.

Soon afterward, video showed Kaur carrying her baby as the suspect led her to the truck. It drove away for a second time.

Merced County Sheriff Vernon Warnke said Jesus Salgado previously worked for the family and had been fired, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In 2005, Warnke said Salgado was arrested for a home invasion “in which he kept his boss and (their) family at gunpoint over money he thought he was owed,” according to the newspaper.

“I think this is the same kind of thing,” Warnke said.

After the bodies of the family members were discovered Wednesday, the sheriff said he had “no words right now to describe the anger I feel.” He added that he hoped prosecutors would ask for the death penalty.

“We have a whole family wiped out,” he said. “And for what?”