By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -A man sought in connection with the kidnapping of four family members from central California was in custody on Tuesday after attempting to take his own life, police said.
The victims, including an 8-month-old girl, remained missing. The Merced County Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s help in finding them.
The girl, Aroohi Dheri, was abducted along with her mother Jasleen Kaur, 27, father Jasdeep Singh, 36, and the baby’s uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh.
Police were alerted to the crime after finding Amandeep Singh’s black 2020 Dodge Ram pickup truck burning on the side of a county road on Monday.
In investigating the burning truck, sheriff’s deputies could not reach the family and ultimately determined that they had been abducted.
Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was named a person of interest by police after cameras captured a man resembling him using a bank card belonging to one of the victims.
“Prior to law enforcement involvement, Salgado attempted to take his own life. Salgado is in our custody, currently receiving medical attention and in critical condition,” the sheriff’s office said.
Earlier on Tuesday law enforcement officials had asked the public for help in solving the crime but said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.
“So far we have no ‘why’ of the kidnapping; we have no motivation behind it,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said in a videotaped message before Salgado was taken into custody. “We just know that they are gone.”
Surveillance camera photos of the kidnapping showed a man with a shaved head, his face obscured by a medical-style mask.
Merced is a city of some 80,000 people roughly 70 miles (113 km) west of Yosemite National Park that prides itself as the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
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