San Francisco: A man accused of kidnapping and killing an Punjab-origin Sikh family, including an eight-month-old girl, in the US earlier this month, did not plead guilty on Thursday.

On October 3, Jesus Salgado allegedly kidnapped eight-month-old Aruhi Dheri, her parents and a relative at gunpoint.

Authorities allege that Salgado, who worked with the Sikh family’s truck company years ago, killed the family within an hour of their abduction.

Later, their bodies were recovered from a remote area two days after the abduction. The 48-year-old accused did not plead guilty, local media reported. He is likely to stand trial from next month and is currently in jail.

Douglas Foster, a court-appointed lawyer for Salgado, declined to comment. The bodies of Aruhi, her mother Jasleen Kaur, 27, her father Jasdeep Singh, 36, and Jasdeep’s brother Amandeep Singh, 39, were recovered by a farm in an almond orchard in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Salgado has been charged with four counts of murder. He has also been charged with arson and possession of arms. If found guilty, he could face life imprisonment. His younger brother Alberto Salgado is also in police custody on suspicion of criminal conspiracy.

Meanwhile, Aruhi’s relatives said the last rites of the deceased will be performed in Turlock on Saturday. Only family members will attend the funeral but people supporting the family can gather outside the funeral venue.

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