Remains of boy found at squalid compound in New Mexico

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

Investigators confirmed they found the remains of a child at the New Mexico compound where 11 emaciated children were discovered living in an underground trailer.

Hujrah Wahhaj along with Jany Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj were arrested without incident in Taos believed to be mothers of eleven children that were rescued from filthy living conditions.

The 11 other children besides Abdul-Ghani were found in a "filthy makeshift compound" in Amalia, which was covered with "odorous trash" and didn't seem to contain clean water.

The raid was prompted by a months-long search for a now four-year-old child, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who went missing in Atlanta, Georgia, in November.

"We discovered the remains yesterday on Abdul's fourth birthday", Sheriff Hogrefe said on Tuesday, seeming to become emotional.

The 11 children are now in the custody of child protective services, said Secretary of New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department Monique Jacobson.

It's not clear whether the boy and Siraj Wahhaj are related.

The boy was reported by his mother to suffer from multiple health issues, including seizures and a brain disorder that prevented him from walking and required regular medication, according to KOAT.

The remains of a young boy have been found at a remote desert compound in New Mexico, police say.

Wahhaj, 39, was wanted for the abduction of his 3-year-old son Abdul Ghani Wahhaj in Georgia, authorities said. But he says the courts and other authorities shot down his attempts to break up the encampment - described as a trailer buried in the ground in Amalia, just south of the New Mexico-Colorado line.

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

At that time, Siraj Wahhaj said he was taking the little boy to the park, but they never returned.

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In addition to the 11 counts of child abuse faced by all the adults, Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive.

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.

Badger said the children "clearly were not taken care of", and believes the sheriff should have - and could have - acted sooner.

"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.

Morton was among the five adults arrested after the Taos County sheriff raided the compound. The women are believed to be the mothers of the children.

Hogrefe said the search did not turn up the missing boy, identified by the sheriff as AG Wahhaj, but that investigators had reason to believe the boy had been at the compound fairly recently.

The authorities had their eye on the compound for two months, but they could not find probable cause to storm the place until they received the message that people were malnourished.

Abdul's mother told the authorities that Siraj Wahhaj wanted to exorcize his son because he considered that his disability was due to a demon.

They looked like "third-world-country refugees" and had only "dirty rags for clothing", the sheriff said.

The sheriff's office said both men initially refused to follow verbal orders, and Wahhaj 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".

He proposed the group "swap" the property for land Badger said the group had purchased not far away from his home in Northern New Mexico.

"We are starving and need food and water", the message said, according to authorities, who said it was forwarded to them but did not provide details on its origin.

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