I suspect The kidnapping and m*rder of a Central California family Officials said Thursday that he was a former employee of the family who had a longstanding dispute with them that was “very messy.”

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke told The Associated Press that relatives of the deceased told investigators that Jesus Salgado, 48, sent angry text messages or emails to the family about a year ago after working at his trucking business. Mails were sent.

A farm worker reported a dead person late Wednesday and local authorities found the body of 8-month-old Arohi Dheri. his 27-year-old mother, Jaslyn Kaur; her 36-year-old father, Jasdeep Singh; and his 39-year-old uncle, Amandeep Singh, in a remote area near Dos Palos, California, about 30 miles south of Merced, California. The deceased’s family was among the queues at the almond orchard.

Warnke said he believed the family had been killed. Before his relatives reported him missing on Monday..

“Our thoughts are with the family in their time of grief and we ask that everyone respect their privacy,” the sheriff’s office added.

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Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke is pictured at a news conference about the kidnapping of a family in Merced, California. Authorities confirmed that the four bodies of the family were found late Wednesday.

The four victims were kidnapped at gunpoint by Salgado from their business in Merced on Monday, authorities said. Salgado was identified as a person of interest Tuesday after detectives were notified that one of the victim’s ATM cards had been used at a bank in Atwater, Calif., according to the sheriff’s office. In a small town 8 miles west-northwest of Merced.

Salgado was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon but charges have not been announced.

Salgado was hospitalized in critical condition after attempting to take his own life. He is still receiving medical treatment and being interviewed by investigators, officials said.

Investigators are also looking for a man who may have acted as Salgado’s accomplice, Warnke said. Detectives also believe Salgado destroyed unspecified evidence in an attempt to cover his tracks.

Warnke said Wednesday that officials are still looking for a motive for the kidnapping. But Warnke said he believes the motive may have been financial, adding that there is no evidence the incident may have been a hate crime.

The victims were Punjabi Sikhs, a community in Central California with a significant presence in the trucking business, many of whom drive trucks, own trucking companies, or have other trucking-related businesses.

A massive manhunt was launched after the abduction on Monday and the public was asked for help. Surveillance footage was also released and authorities described the footage, showing how the family was abducted.

Contribution: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California Family Kidnapped, Suspect Has Long-Term Conflict: Sheriff

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