‘Whole family wiped out’: Baby girl, parents and uncle found dead in California orchard after being kidnapped at gunpoint

A family of four that was kidnapped in California on Monday has been found dead in an orchard, authorities said.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, at a news conference late on Wednesday night.

Mr Warnke did not release any information about how and when the victims were believed to have been killed.

He said they were found close to each other when discovered by a farm worker in a remote area.

Earlier on Wednesday, authorities released footage of the moment the family of four were kidnapped at gunpoint from their trucking business.

Surveillance footage showed a masked suspect leading brothers Amandeep Singh, 39, and Jasdeep Singh, 36, from a building on Monday with their hands zip-tied behind their backs.

The truck departs for a few minutes before returning, when Jasdeep’s wife Jasleen Kaur, 27, and their eight-month-old child Aroohi Dheri, are led from the building into the truck.

Mr Warnke said they were taken by a convicted robber who tried to kill himself a day after the kidnappings.

Authorities named 48-year-old Jesus Salgado, who had been taken into custody and was in critical condition, as a person of interest.

Mr Warnke added that Mr Salgado had been talking to the police.

“There’s no words right now to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” he said.

“I said it earlier: There’s a special place in hell for this guy.”

Authorities have not yet established a motive for the kidnapping.

“We have a whole family wiped out and for what? We don’t know yet,” Mr Warnke said.

The family was taken from their business in Merced, located about 200km (125 miles) southeast of San Francisco in the San Joaquin Valley.

The sheriff added that the victims’ families had been notified about their deaths.

“We’re hoping that they can now at least have some kind of closure,” Mr Warnke said. “It’s not the closure we were hoping for; it’s not the closure they were hoping for.”

The family’s relatives in India said that they could not believe the news of their kin’s deaths.

In the northern Indian state of Punjab, Kaur’s sister-in-law Amandeep Kaur said to The Indian Express that they cannot bear this loss.

Kaur’s mother Gurmeet Kaur and her farmer father Gurnam Singh were not in a state to speak, the outlet reported.

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