Remains of unknown boy found in New Mexico, compound

AMALIA, N. M. – the Researchers found the remains of an unknown boy after raiding a compound in New Mexico where they suspect that a father had taken his severely disabled son after he said he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child and the abducting him in Georgia, authorities said Tuesday.

The remains were found Monday during a search on the edge of Amalia, a small, remote town near the Colorado border, characterized by scattered houses, sagebrush, and open plains.

The authorities were awaiting positive identification of the remains by medical researchers.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe stated the body looked like that of a boy of similar age, Abdul-ghani, who suffers from epileptic seizures and was reported missing in December, after his father said he was taking him to a park in Jonesboro, Georgia, south of Atlanta.

The father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj told his wife that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child, authorities said.

“We discovered the remains of yesterday about Abdul’s fourth birthday,” Hogrefe said that to fight back tears.

The search for Abdul-ghani led authorities Friday to the filthy compound protected by old tires, wooden pallets and an earthen wall studded with broken glass. The researchers said they found the heavily armed Wahhaj, along with four other adults and 11 children who are hungry, living in squalid conditions.

Wahhaj was taken into custody without incident.

All the adults were arrested on suspicion of child abuse. Wahhaj is also being held on a Georgia warrant that seeks his extradition to face a charge of kidnap of his son. He had to appear in court Wednesday.

Authorities returned to search the connection after talks on Friday and Saturday led them to believe that the boy could still be on the property.

“We had a good idea in order to find a new location for the child,” Hogrefe said.

The Georgia arrest warrant said the boy is suffering from a serious medical problems such as a defect is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood flow around the time of the birth. His mother said he can not walk and requires constant attention.

At a press conference in Taos, Hogrefe described the FBI supervision efforts in the last few months that the recorded images of the composition and the interviews. He said that the images were shared with the mother of Abdul-ghani, but she did not spot her son.

“I had no probable cause for a search warrant to go on this property,” the sheriff said.

He said FBI officials were invited to the press conference, but declined to attend. An FBI spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hogrefe said the “breaking point” for a search warrant, came when Georgia authorities received a message that may have originated in the connection of those children to die of hunger within.

It was not clear who sent the message or how it was communicated. Georgia detectives forwarded to the Taos County Sheriff’s Office.

Children in the age group of 1 to 15, were rescued from the compound had been under investigation for months. The sheriff said that it seemed the children had’t eaten for days.

Owner Jason Badger said that he and his wife had pressed authorities to remove the group said that he had built in the compound on its acreage in place of a neighboring tract owned by Lucas Morton, one of the men arrested during the raid.

“I began to try and kick them off about three months ago and everything I tried to do was ever turned down,” said Das.

Court records show a judge dismissed an eviction notice filed by the Das against Morton in June. The records have no further details about the decision of the judge.

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.

Anderson said he had helped the new comers to install solar panels after arrival in December. But he stopped visiting the compound. He said that the children in the first instance played by the neighbouring property but stopped in the last few months.

The women, presumably the mother of some of the children, identified as 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38 years old Hujrah Wahhaj, and the 35-year-old Subhannah Wahhaj.

Jail booking photos show them wearing traditional Muslim veils or hijabs.

Aleks Kostich, a managing attorney in the taos County public defender’s office, said the office was gathering information and mapping of the lawyers of the defendants. He declined to comment on their account, with an indication of the early stage of the case.

However, he asked the “legal completeness” of the criminal complaints filed against the men and the women say they were vague.

“I’m not sure how much research is done,” he said. “I’m not sure how much law enforcement knows, and how long they have known.”


AP writer Kate Brumback in Jonesboro, Georgia, contributed to this report.

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