Emaciated Children are Rescued From a Filthy and Heavily Armed Compound
06 August, 2018, 23:37 | Author: Essie Rivera
- A raid on a New Mexico desert compound turned up 11 children wearing rags and living in filth, and also broke open a freakish tale of guns, exorcisms and a search for a missing young boy who suffers from seizures and is nowhere to be found.
Taos County law enforcement officials found 11 children and three women, believed to be the children's mothers, also living there, but did not find Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.
"The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer", Hogrefe wrote in the news release.
He said the children looked like "third-world country refugees" with no food, no fresh water, no shoes, "and basically dirty rags" for clothing.
Wahhaj, 39, was wanted for the abduction of his 3-year-old son Abdul Ghani Wahhaj in Georgia, authorities said.
Wahhaj's 3-year-old son was not among the 11 children found in the trailer.
Police say five additional children and two adults were with the missing child and his dad during the accident, in a vehicle that was registered to Lucas Morton, of Atlanta.
Sheriff Hogrefe said two men were arrested during the search, which came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with authorities in Clayton County, Georgia, and the FBI. "It was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen". Lucas Morten was jailed on suspicion of harboring a fugitive, Hogrefe said. They are believed to be the mothers of all of the kids found in the trailer, sister station KRQE reports. The women and children seemed to be very "intimidated" by the men and were potentially "brainwashed", the sheriff said. 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".
The message was to the point: "We are starving and need food and water", it said in part.
'Starving' children are found on US compound
The operation took hours as Wahhaj allegedly holed up inside the compound with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, five 30-round magazines and four handguns upon arrival by the officers.
The three women were also briefly detained for questioning, but not criminally charged.
On Dec. 29, Clayton County police said they had obtained information that the group could be in the area of Taos, NM.
The Sheriff's Office named the three females as Jany Leveille (35), Hujrah Wahhaj (38), and Subhannah Wahhaj (35).
One of the men was Siraj Wahhaj, who is accused of kidnapping his toddler from Jonesboro, Georgia.
Hogrefe said that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had surveilled the compound a few weeks previous but did not at the time find probable cause to conduct a search.
The boy's mother told police her child, who she said suffered from seizures along with development and cognitive delays, went to the park with his father Mr Wahhaj last December and never returned. Sarij Wahhaj is being held without bail on a Georgia warrant for child abduction, deputies said.
None of the adults would give details about the whereabouts of the missing toddler, but police believe he was at the compound a few weeks ago. They had been involved in a auto accident on 13 December, and indicated to the responding officer that they were on their way to New Mexico for a camping trip.
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