Merced holds candlelight vigil to remember kidnapped family found dead
The first in a series of candlelight vigils planned to mourn a Merced family was held Thursday night in downtown Merced. Vigils will take place every night at 7pm through Sunday at Bob Hart Square. The family’s deaths have left the community reeling following the tragic discovery of their bodies Wednesday night.
“Our family just lost four precious souls today. How we all shudder,” says Sukhdeep Singh, a cousin to the family. “We don't have words to say.”
The bodies of 8-month-old Aroohi Derhi, the baby’s parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and the baby’s uncle Amandeep Singh, were found in an orchard near Dos Palos.
Surveillance video released by the Merced County Sheriff’s Department showed the family was kidnapped at gunpoint Monday outside their trucking business. The suspect, 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, remains in custody after attempting to take his own life. Police also arrested his brother, Alberto Salgado, on the grounds of criminal conspiracy, accessory, and destroying evidence Thursday evening.
Naindeep Singh, the executive director of the Jakara Movement said the killings hit Merced County especially hard, where cities like Livingston have a large Punjabi and Sikh population. He said the community's outpouring of support has been overwhelming.
“The reverberations have been all across the state, if not all across the country and the world. We've been getting messages - people that reach out, really, just trying to figure out how they can support the family,” Singh said.
An official GoFundMe page to donate to the family of the victims can be found on the Merced County Sheriff’s Facebook page.