Boy's Remains Found At Raided New Mexico Compound

Hannah Rogers
August 8, 2018

A New Mexico sheriff said searchers have found the remains of a boy at the makeshift compound that was raided in search of a missing Georgia child.

Taos County officials examine a disheveled living compound at Amalia, New Mexico where the remains of a child were found, August 7, 2018.

He identified the women as Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahha.

Morton and Wahhaj were arrested after law enforcement officers searching a rural northern New Mexico compound for a missing 3-year-old boy found 11 children in filthy conditions and hardly any food.

Clayton County police said in a missing persons bulletin that Mr Wahhaj and his son were last seen on December 13 in Alabama, on the western border of Georgia, traveling with five other children and two adults.

One 8-year-old child said that all the adults in the compound had seen Abdul-Ghani deceased and that "Uncle Lucas" - an apparent reference to Morton - washed the body twice and buried it in either a tunnel deputies found around the compound or in the "toilet room". A warrant was issued in Georgia for Wahhaj's arrest on January 9.

The boy's mother told police her child suffered from seizures along with development and cognitive delays.

The property the "makeshift compound" sits on does not belong to the occupants, Hogrefe said. Authorities in New Mexico on Tuesday said they have found the remains of a young boy.

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

The 11 surviving youngsters found there, described by Hogrefe as looking like "Third World country refugees", were taken into protective custody by state child welfare authorities.

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

The cluttered compound had loaded firearms easily within the children's reach, and the group had been there for at least two months, the sheriff said.

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

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.

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

The boy's father, Siraj Wahhaj, was arrested Friday along with his sisters Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj after authorities raided the compound.

The father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, had told his wife he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child, authorities said. The women are believed to be the mothers of the 11 children, who range in age from 1 to 15.

The Associated Press reported Jason Badger, who appears to own the land where Wahhaj and the others were living, recently attempted to evict Morton but was unsuccessful.

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

The missing boy's father, who the sheriff said was heavily armed when taken into custody, was identified as Siraj Wahhaj, 39.

That changed when Georgia detectives forwarded a message to Sheriff Hogrefe's office that initially had been sent to a third party, saying: "We are starving and need food and water".

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

Police described the compound as a small underground trailer covered by plastic, with no running water or electricity.

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