Unidentified remains of 'young boy' found at Amalia compound

08 August, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Father who took missing Clayton County child found in New Mexico; Kid still missing

The investigation into a group of starving children found in a desert compound in New Mexico took another dark turn Tuesday, when authorities said they found the remains of a young boy at the squalid property.

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

The children, ranging in age from one to 15, were discovered last week in a raid of a partially underground rural New Mexico compound and turned over to state child welfare workers.

They were later arrested after authorities executed a second search warrant on the compound on Sunday, and each of the five adults were charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse, Hogrefe said.

It's not clear whether the remains are those of Abdul-Ghani, a child with severe medical problems whose fourth birthday was Monday.

"I absolutely knew that we couldn't wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible, so I began working on a search warrant right after I got that intercepted message", said Hogrefe, "it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief". But Wahhaj and Morten initially refused to follow commands and Wahhaj was armed with a rifle and four handguns, Hogrefe said.

He doesn't recall seeing the Georgia boy who was missing.

The boy's mother told authorities the boy suffers from seizures, can not walk because of severe medical issues, and requires constant attention. Police said the adults declined to give statements about the missing child, but he is believed to have been at the compound as recently as a few weeks ago.

Documents made public in a court filing on Monday said the father told the boy's mother before he left Georgia that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child because he believed he was possessed by the devil. They were traveling with two other adults and five other children, and told police they were headed to New Mexico on a camping trip.

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Clayton County police said in a missing persons bulletin that Wahhaj and his son were last seen December 13 in Alabama, traveling with five other children and two adults. Aerial footage of the compound prior to the special forces raid revealed a child walking around with a limp, though authorities have not confirmed that they know this to be Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

Jerry Hogrefe, the Taos County sheriff, said that the boy's body lay near the compound.

So while his father sits in custody accused of abusing 11 other children, the search for Abdul continues.

The boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, was among those arrested in the compound raid that has since resulted in the series of disturbing revelations on the outskirts of Amalia, a tiny town near the Colorado state line marked by scattered homes and sagebrush. He claims to be the son of a well-known imam from Brooklyn.

Tyler Anderson, who lives near the compound, believes the group had moved to the area to live off the grid, just as he had done.

The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Sheriff Hogrefe.

The Taos County Sheriff said the 3-year-old boy was not among the children which he described as being in heartbreaking condition, starving with no food or fresh water. The women are believed to be the mothers of the children.

Badger said Tuesday that he had concerns about the compound, but that the courts and other authorities shot down his attempts to break up the encampment - described as a trailer buried in the ground.

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