Authorities discover remains of boy at New Mexico compound
Aug 08, 2018, 04:43
On Thursday, Hogrefe issued a search warrant for the compound, described as an earthen berm in a local subdivision was allegedly occupied by Morten and Siraj Wahhaj. The sheriff called the conditions in the trailer filthy. "They were skinny, their ribs showed, they were in very poor hygiene and very scared", Taos county Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told ABC News Radio.
Abdul-Ghani's mother, Hakima Ramzi, could not be reached after authorities announced the discovery of the remains.
A toddler, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, 4, who is thought to have been living at the compound, remains missing.
The children were removed from the compound and turned over to state child-welfare workers.
A person close to the family who asked to remain anonymous because they did not have permission from the family to share information confirmed that Saraj Ibn Wahhaj is the imam's son.
"We had a good idea of a target location to look for the child." he said. That child was not among the children found.
Authorities are also investigating the roles of three women present during the raid.
The boy's mother told authorities the boy suffers from seizures, can not walk because of severe medical issues, and requires constant attention.
The child was not among those found in Amalia but he is believed to have been in the compound in recent weeks.
The mother told police her son has to take medication because he suffers from seizures, developmental and cognitive delays and is unable to walk due to suffering a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) at birth. However, the site was not searched immediately given a lack of "probable cause".
Amalia is 145 miles northeast of Albuquerque in an isolated high-desert area near the New Mexico-Colorado border.
These are a sheriff's descriptions of a property that officers raided last week in rural Amalia, New Mexico, according to court documents, in what started as an investigation into a man's alleged abduction of his son, then 3, in Georgia past year. He didn't provide further comment, citing the early stage of the case.
The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Sheriff Hogrefe.
Then father is accused of leaving Georgia in December with his then 3-year-old son.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had surveilled the area a few weeks ago but did not find probable cause to search the property. Police received a search warrant last week after seeing a third-party message from someone on the compound that said, "We are starving and need food and water".
It wasn't clear who sent the message or how it was communicated.
No one was injured in the all-day operation, according to the sheriff's office.
Morton was taken into custody on suspicion of harboring a fugitive.
Sheriff Hogrefe said the two men were believed to be of "extremist" belief and had initially refused to follow police instructions.
The property the "makeshift compound" sits on does not belong to the occupants, Hogrefe said.
The women - Jany Leveille, believed to be Morten's wife, Hujrah Wahhaj, and Subhannah Wahhaj, an author of Muslim self-help books - eventually gave themselves up.
Jail booking photos show them wearing traditional Muslim veils or hijabs.
Days later, Wahhaj was involved in an accident in Chilton County Alabama, north of Montgomery, according a police traffic report.
He said the children looked like "Third-World country refugees" with no fresh water, no shoes, "and basically dirty rags" for clothing.
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