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Kidnapping of Indian-origin family in California: Relatives in Punjab shocked, parents return to US

The suspect identified as Jesus Manuel Salgado “attempted to take his own life,” and is currently in “custody, receiving medical attention and is in a critical condition”, authorities said, even as the victims are still missing.

Photographs of the kidnapped family shared by the Sheriff's office.

A day after a four-member Sikh family, including an eight-month-old child, from Harsi Pind in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, was kidnapped at a business in Merced County, California, a 48-year-old man considered a “person of interest” was taken into custody on Tuesday.

The suspect identified as Jesus Manuel Salgado “attempted to take his own life,” and is currently in “custody, receiving medical attention and is in a critical condition”, authorities said, even as the victims are still missing. The family members were identified as Jasdeep Singh, 36, his wife Jasleen Kaur, 27, their eight-month-old Jasdeep’s parents Dr Randhir Singh and Kirpal Kaur are natives of Harsi Pind village in Tanda block of Hoshiarpur. Back home in Punjab’s Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts, family and relatives of the victims are in a state of shock.

Charanjit Singh, a neighbour of Randhir Singh, said Jasdeep’s parents were in a state of shock and not in a position to talk.

Randhir Singh and Kirpal Kaur retired from the health and education departments, respectively.

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According to Charanjit Singh, Randhir Singh returned to India from abroad on September 29. Upon arrival, he left for a pilgrimage in Uttarakhand.

When he reached Rishikesh, he received a call from daughter-in-law Jaspreet Kaur from the US who told him about the incident of kidnapping of her husband Amandeep Singh and other family members.

Gurnam Singh, father of Jasleen, said that his daughter got married to Jasdeep in January 2019 and went to the US in October 2020. “My daughter had informed us recently that they are planning to visit us in January 2023 and we were very excited to see our granddaughter first time since she was born and had planned to celebrate the arrival of our granddaughter who would have turned one at the time of their visit in India,” he said, adding that he has no clue why and how it had happened.

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He added that Jasleen’s in-laws had shifted to the new office at Merced around two weeks ago. “Her in-laws came to Punjab last month and also visited us in Jandir, Jalandhar,” he said.

Jasleen’s sister-in-law Amandeep Kaur said that usually Jasleen went to office around noon and left her daughter with the grandparents at home. “However, on Monday, she took her daughter along as her in-laws were in India. On the day of kidnapping when Jasleen’s co-sister called on their numbers, the phones were switched off. She then rushed to the office where she saw scattered papers and from CCTV cameras, she got to know about their kidnapping and then she informed all their relatives and police immediately,” Amandeep Kaur said.

According to US news reports, an armed person kidnapped the family from Central Valley on Monday.

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Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said, “The police said the family was taken against their will from a business along the 800 block of South Highway 59. We have a lowlife out there that kidnapped an eight-month-old baby, her mom, her dad and her uncle. So far, we have no motivation behind it. We just know they are gone. We have got evidence to indicate the individuals involved in this destroyed evidence in an attempt to cover their tracks.”

The sheriff added that the suspect was seen with a shaved head, a disposable face mask and a black and grey hoodie.

According to a news release, detectives received information on Tuesday that one of the victim’s bank cards was used at an ATM in Atwater in Merced County.

“Investigators have also obtained the surveillance photo of a subject making a bank transaction where the person is similar in appearance to the surveillance photo from the original kidnapping scene,” the Merced County Sheriff’s Office statement says.- With PTI inputs

First published on: 06-10-2022 at 03:18:56 am
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