Remains of boy found at squalid compound in New Mexico

Eleven children were held with little food or water in a makeshift compound in Amalia N.M. for an unknown period of time before police raided the location on Friday Aug. 3 2018

These are a sheriff's descriptions of a property that officers raided last week in rural Amalia, New Mexico, according to court documents, in what started as an investigation into a man's alleged abduction of his son, then 3, in Georgia previous year.

A child's body has now been found at the New Mexico compound where police earlier found 11 starving children. Three women believed to be their mothers were also found in the makeshift compound on Friday. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents refused to request a search warrant, but the Taos County Sheriff's Office moved quickly and took both men, one of which was heavily armed, into custody during an all-day raid Saturday.

Authorities say the search for Abdul-ghani, of Georgia, led them Friday to the squalid compound where they found his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, four other adults and 11 hungry children living in filthy conditions. It is unclear whether human remains discovered during that search are those of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, whose fourth birthday was Monday.

The father is also accused of leaving Clayton County, Georgia, last December with Abdul-Ghani.

Abdul's mother told the authorities that Siraj Wahhaj wanted to exorcize his son because he considered that his disability was due to a demon.

On Dec. 13, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and the boy were involved in an accident on an interstate highway in Alabama.

In the first operation, Abdul was not found. Authorities in New Mexico on Tuesday said they have found the remains of a young boy.

However, Wahhaj himself was not found at the compound.

What happened between that vehicle accident in December and Friday's discovery remains a mystery.

The defendants include the father of a missing boy whose disappearance led authorities to raid the compound last week.

So on Friday, the Taos County Sheriff's Office and state authorities executed a search warrant on the compound.

The Taos County sheriff identified the women facing charges as Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35.

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They also include another man and three women presumed to be the mothers of the 11 children, who were taken into protective custody. One of the men, Siraj Wahhaj, was the boy's father. So far, all five adults have been charged with 11 counts of child abuse.

It's not clear whether the boy and Siraj Wahhaj are related.

Morten was charged with harbouring a fugitive and Wahhaj was booked without bond on his Georgia warrant for child abduction.

According to Hogrefe the group had amassed a cache of weapons.

Wahhaj was scheduled to make his first appearance in Taos Magistrate Court Tuesday.

The Badgers said they reached out to authorities in New Mexico and Georgia and gave the sheriff's office permission to search the property, but nothing was done until last week.

"The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer", Hogrefe has said.

He said the children looked like "third-world country refugees" with no food, no fresh water, no shoes, "and basically dirty rags" for clothing.

"I've been working this job for 30 years, and I've never seen anything like this", Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.

The eleven children found are in New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department custody.

Everything changed Thursday when authorities said they received a tip about possible starving children living on the compound, and had enough probable cause to put in an affidavit for a search warrant. He may be wearing leg braces and need assistance walking, CNN reports.

The state agency said it planned to file a petition with the court to maintain custody of the children, according to Monique Jacobson, cabinet secretary for the department.

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