Merced kidnapping: Suspect in custody has violent past, previously arrested for robbery, threats

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Thursday, October 6, 2022
Merced kidnapping: suspect worked for family, baby was left to die
All four bodies of the people who were kidnapped from a business in Merced County earlier this week have been found.

MERCED, Calif. -- The suspect in custody for his alleged role in the kidnapping and deaths of a Merced County family was previously arrested in 2005.

Here's what we know about the 2005 incident.

According to a Merced County Sheriff's Office report in December of 2005, Jesus Salgado was arrested for robbery, burglary and criminal threats against a man and his family.

According to the report, on the night of December 12th, the man said he pulled into his detached garage and saw a man in a black ski mask and sweatshirt with shoulder-length hair and a mustache pointing a gun at him.

The man said he immediately recognized the man as Salgado, who had worked for Gant two years prior.

Salgado demanded the man to get on the ground, tying his legs together, then asked where his son was because, "[he] owes me lots of money."

At the time, the victim's wife, daughter and her friend were inside the house.

While in the garage, Salgado took his wallet and asked for his card PIN or else he would kidnap the daughter.

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"I don't want to hurt anyone," Salgado said to the man.

He allegedly pointed the gun at victim's head and back throughout the incident.

Moments later, after a failed attempt to enter the house with the man, Salgado had the victim call his wife from the garage phone and ask her to unlock the door.

Salgado then untied the man's legs but taped his hands together. They walked to the house where Salgado pushed the man inside and told the wife to get to the ground.

He told the daughter to get back into a room, then walked down the hallway where he saw a light in a bathroom.

Salgado allegedly forcefully tried to enter the bathroom before demanding the daughter's friend to come out. At that point, he made all four go with him to the bedroom with the safe. He asked the wife to carry the safe to the garage and open it.

After a bit of a struggle to open the safe, Salgado grabbed cash, a bag with jewelry and the wife's wedding ring -- a combined estimated valued at over $67,000.

He told the family to jump in the pool. The women jumped in, but Salgado allegedly tried to push the husband in the deep end.

The man told him he would drown since his hands were tied. Salgado cycled the handgun, pulling the slide and letting go. The man jumped in the shallow end.

"Don't call the cops or I'll come back and kill you," Salgado said to the family. He then walked into the house and towards the front door.

The husband told his wife to go to the garage and call the police. She instead went inside the house, but the phone was off the hook. His daughter untied him and he ran to garage using their second phone line.

Police were able to locate Salgado in Atwater, CA, who was on active probation at the time and had an alias of "Jessie."

His fiancé and daughter said Salgado had tried to sell jewelry. Police questioned and arrested him.

The Merced County Sheriff said he was paroled in 2015 and has had little contact with law enforcement since.