Brother of suspect in slaying of family pleads not guilty

MERCED, Calif. (AP) — The younger brother of a man charged in the kidnapping and killing of a family in central California pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he helped his brother.

Alberto Salgado was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, accessory after the fact, and arson of property, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office said.

Salgado, 41, was arrested days after authorities arrested his older brother, Jesus Salgado, 48. The elder Salgado pleaded not guilty last week to kidnapping and killing an 8-month-old baby, her parents and uncle.

Alberto Salgado was appointed a public defender by the court. A message was left with the Merced County Public Defender’s Office seeking comment.

Jesus Salgado allegedly kidnapped the family at gunpoint from their trucking business on Oct. 3. Authorities say Salgado, a former employee with a longstanding dispute, likely killed them within an hour.

The victims’ bodies were found two days after the kidnapping. A farm worker in an almond orchard in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s agricultural heartland, discovered the remains of Aroohi Dheri; her 27-year-old mother, Jasleen Kaur; her 36-year-old father, Jasdeep Singh; and her 39-year-old uncle, Amandeep Singh.

Surveillance video showed the family members were taken from their business in Merced, a city of 86,000 people about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco, by a suspect later identified as Jesus Salgado and driven away in Amandeep Singh’s pickup truck.

Firefighters found the truck on fire in the town of Winton, 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Merced, hours after the kidnapping.

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