This tragic story about an infant and her parents being kidnapped in Merced County, California continues to unfold as the country watches.
Officials released information about the person responsible and said he was armed and dangerous.
The young family, along with another relative were all taken from a family business in an unincorporated community in the Central Valley, according to the Merced County sheriff’s office.
“We have a low-life out there that kidnapped an 8-month-old baby, her mom, her dad and her uncle,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said in a statement Monday night. “We have no motivation behind it, we just know that they are gone.”
Aroohi Dheri is the infant’s name and her parents are Jasleen Kaur, 27 years old, and Jasdeep Singh, 36 years old. The uncle is Amandeep Singh who is 39 years old. They were taken against their will from the business which is on South Highway 59, an area that is lined with other businesses and restaurants, according to city officials. The name of the business was not revealed.
Sheriff Warnke believes that the kidnapper destroyed evidence and attempted to cover his tracks. He also said that there had been no contact made initially by the kidnapper and there was no ransom being demanded from any suspects in the case. He asked the for community’s help in finding the kidnapper and getting the family back to their home.
Officials released images of a man in black and gray hoodies with s surgical mask on who they believe was a suspect in the case.
As of Tuesday, there were no updates in the case according to a statement from Deputy Sheriff Alexandra Britton given to NBC News.
Then, later on, Tuesday, the man suspected of kidnapping the family from their business attempted to kill himself and was hospitalized in critical condition, according to authorities.
The family, including the infant, were still missing. The Merced county sheriff’s office said in a statement that investigators identified Jesus Salgado, 48 after he used one of the victim’s ATM cards.
The family from Merced, 125 miles southeast of San Francisco, belongs to the local Sikh community. Naindeep Singh, the head of a local Sikh community organization, the four were taken from the gas station and convenience store that they own on Monday.
Detectives were able to obtain a surveillance photo from the ATM in Atwater, a city that is about nine miles north of Merced. The person in that photo looked very similar to a person caught on surveillance at the original kidnapping scene.
Detectives received information that identified Salgado as a person of interest, but before they could talk with him, he attempted to take his own life. The Sheriff’s office will soon hold a press conference to reveal more information on the suspect.
They did reveal that firefighters on Monday found a pickup truck that belonged to Amandeep Singh was on fire. Officers went immediately to Singh’s home and a family member tried to reach him as well as the couple with the baby, but they could not. That’s when the sheriff’s office was called.
Officials have noted that the FBI and the California department of justice, along with other local law enforcement agencies are helping with this ongoing investigation.
Naindeep Singh said that the family has asked for privacy. “They’re in shock and worried about the family and the baby. They are in a lot of grief,” he said.
The community is waiting and hoping that this family, and especially the infant, are found and alive.