Boy's remains found at New Mexico desert compound

08 August, 2018, 16:12 | Author: Diane Mills
  • 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

The remains of a young child were found on a New Mexico compound where 11 other children were discovered in filthy, squalid conditions, the Taos County Sheriff's Office said on August 7.

Asked whether the two men and three women arrested at the compound offered any information regarding the whereabouts of the boy, Hogrefe said they provided some "limited" information that assisted in the discovery of the set of remains, which appeared to belong to a small child.

There they found 11 emaciated children ranging in age from 1 to 15, along with three women believed to be their mothers - Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; Subhannah Wahhaj, 35; and Jany Leveille, 35.

A child's body was found inside a compound located near the New Mexico-Colorado border.

Abdul-Ghani was not among the 11 children found at the compound, but authorities said they "reasonably believe" he was there as recently as a few weeks ago.

They would not confirm the identity of the body, but 4-year-old Abdul Wahhaj has been missing since December. They were filed before the remains, believed to be Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, were found.

The other boys "are all safe and their needs are being met", Henry Varela, communications director of the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families, told AFP.

Morten is facing an additional charge of harboring a fugitive, and Siraj Wahhaj is also being held on a child abduction warrant out of Georgia. Siraj Wahhaj also was the subject of a warrant related to his missing son. His mother said he can't walk and requires constant attention.

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

According to the affidavit, written by Hogrefe, CYFD conducted interviews with some of the children, some of whom said Abdul-Ghani had died at the compound.

According to the extradition warrant, Wahhaj told the boy's mother that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child, who suffered from seizures, because he believed the 3-year-old was possessed by the devil.

Alabama police said they were told the group were going camping in New Mexico, the station said.

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The children were turned over to state child welfare workers. Five adults who were living there face child abuse charges.

"Their independent autopsy investigation will conclude that", said Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe, Taos County, New Mexico.

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

"We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had ― it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen".

Morton was arrested along with Ibn Wahhaj and the three suspected mothers.

When the Sheriff's Office Response Team moved on the compound, the only things they found for food were some potatoes and rice.

Property owner Jason Badger said he and his wife had pressed authorities to remove the group from the makeshift compound on his land. One of the men, Siraj Wahhaj, was the boy's father.

The search for Abdul-ghani led authorities to the compound shielded by old tyres, wooden pallets and an earthen wall studded with broken glass.

His officers helped execute a search warrant on the compound after receiving a message apparently forwarded from someone at the compound: "We are starving and need food and water".

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.

Hogrefe said the adults and children had no shoes, wore dirty rags for clothing and "looked like Third World country refugees".

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