11 kids rescued from illegal compound

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

Taos County Sheriffs Office

Authorities announced Tuesday that a child's body was found at the site.

The remains of the boy have not been identified since being found Monday on the "inner portion" of the property, said Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The mother of Abdul-Ghani called police on Dec. 10 and told authorities that she hadn't seen her son since December, when Siraj said he was taking him to the park.

An aerial view of a compound in rural New Mexico where 11 children were taken into protective custody for their own health and safety after a raid by authorities, is shown in this photo near Amalia, New Mexico, U.S., provided August 6, 2018.

The women, believed to be mothers of some of the children, have been identified as 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj, and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahhaj.

Each of the five adults were charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse, according to the local prosecutor, Donald Gallegos.

Also on the property, Lucas Morten, three women, one of whom was pregnant, and 11 malnourished children.

"The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice", Hogrefe said after the police operation at the compound.

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. They were filed before the remains, believed to be Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, were found.

The children were removed and turned over to state child-welfare workers. Eleven children were found Friday in filthy conditions with hardly any food.

Wahhaj was booked on his no bond warrant for child abduction. Wahhaj is also being detained on a Georgia warrant that seeks his extradition to face a charge of abducting his son.

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"Wahhaj who was held up inside the compound was heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down".

The warrant says that Wahhaj told the boy's mother he wanted to perform an exorcism on the boy.

In December, days after Abdul-Ghani's mother reported him missing, Wahhaj was involved in an accident in Alabama, according a police report. The group told police they were headed to New Mexico to go camping, and continued on their way. The travelers were picked up by Morton. Police are determining whether the dead child is the son of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, arrested at the compound on kidnap charges.

In an email responding to a Journal inquiry before Tuesday's news that a child's body had been found at the New Mexico compound, the imam said, "We are grateful for Law Enforcement for locating our family members". We pray to Allah that Allah protect him. They found no water, and very little food.

Hogrefe had previously described the residents of the compound as extremist.

"We had a good idea of a target location to look for the child", Mr Hogrefe said.

The search for the missing boy began in January, when Wahhaj's estranged wife in Atlanta, Hakima Ramzi, reportedly recorded a video on Facebook pleading for help finding her son.

The "breaking point" to enter the compound came on Thursday, when a text message believed to have been sent from an occupant of the compound - or someone with "great knowledge" of the compound - stated that there were starving children there.

He said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents conducted surveillance of the area a few weeks ago but did not find probable cause to search the property.

Court documents show that Jason and Tany Badger, who live nearby, have been in a land dispute with Morton. The court case over a purchase agreement between the Badgers and Morton was dismissed.

Authorities raided the compound Friday. Children ages 1 to 15 were rescued from the compound that had been under investigation for months.

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