Baby, parents missing after being ‘taken against their will’ in Merced

By Aya Elamroussi and Taylor Romine | CNN

Four members of a family are missing in Merced County, and the sheriff says they were taken against their will from a business.

A family of 4 is missing after being 'taken against their will' in central California. Amandeep Singh is missing along with his niece and her parents, investigators said.(Merced County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Amandeep Singh is missing along with his niece and her parents, investigators said.(Merced County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook) 

The missing people are married couple Jasleen Kaur, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 36; their 8-month-old daughter, Aroohi Dheri; and the child’s uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook.

The family is believed to have been abducted Monday from the vehicle storage business they ran in the 800 block of South Highway 59 (Los Banos Highway), near Dickenson Ferry Road in Merced.

Law enforcement officials became aware of their disappearance after Amandeep Singh’s pickup truck was found abandoned and on fire around 11:40 a.m. Monday at a rural crossroads north of Merced. Within an hour and a half, officers determined the four had been kidnapped.

“We have no motivation behind it. We just know they are gone,” Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said in a video message posted on Facebook. There has been no ransom demand or other contact from the kidnapper, he said.

The office released a photo of the suspect, a “light-complected” man with closely cropped hair. He was last seen wearing a gray-and-black hooded sweatshirt, black calf-length pants and black shoes and socks. He is considered armed and dangerous, officials added.

Warnke said there is an indication that the man destroyed evidence at the scene “in an attempt to cover up their tracks.”

On Tuesday morning, sheriff’s deputies were told that someone “similar in appearance” to the man in the photo had used one of the victims’ ATM cards in Atwater, 10 miles from Merced. When that man was found, he had injuries consistent with trying to take his own life. On Tuesday afternoon he remained in critical condition in a hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect in the family's kidnapping. (Merced County sheriff's office)
The suspect in the family’s kidnapping. (Merced County sheriff’s office) 

Anyone with information about the kidnapping is asked to contact deputies at (209) 385-7445. The sheriff’s office plans a press conference about the case at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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Baby and parents missing after being ‘taken against their will’ from Merced business, sheriff says