California kidnapped family: Suspect accused of killing family of 4 pleads not guilty

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The man suspected of kidnapping and killing a California family of four entered a not guilty plea in court on Thursday, Merced County Chief Deputy District Attorney Matthew Serratto told CNN.

Jesus Salgado is charged with four counts of first degree murder for the death of 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle Amandeep Singh.

Prosecutors also added a special allegation of kidnapping to the charges, alleging that Salgado forcefully took the family from their trucking business.

Authorities have said Salgado, who is a former employee of the family’s business, kidnapped the four from their central California business last Monday and killed them that day. The family was kidnapped at gunpoint – an abduction which was recorded on surveillance video.

Their bodies were recovered two days later in Merced County after a farmer reported the remains to law enforcement.

Authorities have not publicly released details about a motive.

Police took Salgado into custody last week after his family told authorities he admitted to being involved in the kidnapping, Merced County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Alexandra Britton previously said.

Salgado is being held on $450,000 bail, according to county inmate records. His attorney could not be reached for comment. A status hearing in the case is set for December 15.

Jesus Salgado

He was previously in prison for nearly a decade after being convicted of attempted false imprisonment, first degree robbery and possession of a controlled substance, according to records from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In the previous case, Salgado was sentenced to 11 years in January 2007. He was released on parole in June 2015, and his parole supervision ended in June 2018, the department previously told CNN in an email.

Alberto Salgado, the suspect’s brother, was also arrested and booked into jail on preliminary charges of criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence in connection with the case, Britton told CNN on Friday. He also remained in custody Wednesday, according to the county’s inmate records.

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