NEW YORK: Eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri was left dead and died for exposure in a remote farm area in the US where her parents and uncle were killed, according to a family spokesperson.
ABC30 TV station said that according to the spokesperson, she “was left for dead and died from exposure”.
Dheri, her parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle Amandeep Singh were kidnapped on Monday from the family’s trucking business in Merced, California, and their bodies were discovered on Wednesday in the remote area of a farm.
Jesus Manuel Salgado, a former convict who was seen in a video taking away the four victims, was formally charged with four murders and kidnappings and booked into the Merced County jail on Thursday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that according to Sukhdeep Singh, a brother of Jasdeep and Amandeep, the accused murderer had worked for the family’s company, Unison Trucking.
ABC30 said that according to the family spokesperson, whom it did not name, they had “parted ways” after a disagreement.
Jesus Manuel Salgado’s brother, Alberto, was arrested on Thursday evening “for criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence”, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The perpetrator was taken into custody on Tuesday after he had attempted suicide and was taken to a hospital.
Merced Country Sheriff Vernon Warnke said that his family had reported to authorities that he had said he was involved in the kidnapping and before officers reached him, he had harmed himself.
Officials had been alerted to the kidnapping when Amandeep Singh’s truck was found burning and his family could not reach the victims.
A chilling surveillance video from outside the trucking business showed Jasdeep Singh and Amandeep Singh first being led away at gunpoint and the kidnapper returning to take Jasleen Kaur and the baby.
The city of Merced started four days of evening candlelight vigils on Thursday in memory of the family.
It also issued a statement that “Merced stands with the Sikh community”.
Jesus Salgado had been convicted of a 2005 armed robbery of a family and sent to jail. He was released on parole in 2015.
The Los Angeles Times said that the case also involved another family that ran a trucking business for whom he had worked.
Jesus Salgado was fired in 2004 because the family suspected him of stealing money, a mother and daughter from that family who were identified only as Kathy and Katrina told the newspaper.
He had rounded up the family and visiting friends at gunpoint and made the mother open the family safe, emptied and even demanded her wedding ring, they recalled.
He took them to the backyard pool and made them jump into it before fleeing, they said.