New Mexico sheriff: Compound searched, 11 kids removed

New Mexico sheriff: Compound searched, 11 kids removed

New Mexico sheriff: Compound searched, 11 kids removed

Authorities discovered the children while searching for a missing 3-year-old boy, who still hasn't been located. Three women, believed to be mothers of the children, were also briefly detained, Hogrefe said.

Two men, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39 - father of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj - and Lucas Morton, 40, were arrested at the compound Friday after it was stormed by state and county law enforcement officials. They would not confirm the identity of the body, but 4-year-old Abdul Wahhaj has been missing since December.

Anderson said the 11 children found inside the compound at first played at neighbouring properties but stopped in recent months.

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. According to social media posts by the boy's mother, his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, disappeared with the child after saying he was taking him to the park.

Wahhaj believed his son suffered from another affliction, according to the toddler's mother.

The vehicle was registered to a second adult in the auto, Jany Leveille, 35, of Georgia, according to the report.

They were discovered during a search for a three-year-old who was abducted in New Mexico, but still remains missing.

Officials in Clayton County, Georgia, said the boy and his father were last seen in Alabama, on December 13, when they were involved in a traffic accident while traveling with five other children and two adults, KOAT-TV reported.

What happened between that auto accident in December and Friday's discovery remains a mystery.

A New Mexico man who lived near the makeshift compound said he thought the group had moved to the area to live off the grid, just as he had done.

'I absolutely knew that we couldn't wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible'.

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A news conference regarding the case is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Taos County Commission Chambers.

The Taos County sheriff identified the women facing charges as 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj, and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahhaj.

Five adults, who were all either parents or aunts and uncles to the children, were initially arrested in the raid, and all five have been charged with 11 counts of child abuse.

Sheriff Hogrefe said in May, they learned about a warrant out of Georgia issued for Siraj, but they didn't have a specific location in New Mexico of where he was.

Sheriff Hogrefe said Wahhaj had been "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 family is related to a well-known Muslim imam in Brooklyn, Siraj Wahhaj, who, along with others, had pleaded on Facebook for the little boy's return.

Morton was taken into custody on suspicion of harboring a fugitive. He had picked the group up after the accident in Alabama, according to CNN affiliate KOAT.

Police say the youngsters were so starved that they "looked like third world refugees, with basically dirty rags for clothing".

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told ABC News the children were hungry, thirsty and filthy.

The message was to the point: "We are starving and need food and water", it said in part.

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