Mothers of 11 Kids Found at 'Filthy' New Mexico Compound Are Arrested

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

The remains of a young child were discovered on the grounds of the New Mexico compound in which 11 kids were found abused and living in squalor, the Taos County Sheriff's Office revealed Tuesday.

This combination photo provided by the Taos County Sheriff's Department shows, from left, Subhannah Wahhaj, Jany Leveille and Hujrah Wahhaj.

Police in the U.S. state of New Mexico have rescued 11 "starving" children in a remote desert compound.

Medical examiners still must confirm whether the body found at the property in a second search Monday is that of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, who was three years old in December when police say his father took him from his mother in Jonesboro, Georgia.

The Taos County Sheriff's Office went to the makeshift compound on Friday to search for a missing 3-year-old boy, AG Wahhaj. The remains, which were given to a medical investigations office, were found on Monday, Abdul's 4th birthday. But Wahhaj and Morten initially refused to follow commands and Wahhaj was armed with a rifle and four handguns, Hogrefe said. Wahhaj told the trooper that he owned the guns legally and had a Georgia permit to carry concealed weapons. The boy's mother said the boy can't walk and requires constant attention.

The defendants include the father of a missing boy whose disappearance led authorities to raid the compound last week.

"The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice", Hogrefe said after the police operation at the compound.

Siraj Wahhaj is believed to have taken the boy to perform an exorcism on him, authorities said. The group told an Alabama officer, according to the report, they were headed to New Mexico on a camping trip and were later picked up in a truck registered to Morton.

"I had no probable cause to go onto this property prior to the day I wrote the first warrant".

The children were removed from the compound and turned over to state child-welfare workers.

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

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.

The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Hogrefe. The minors are in protective custody.

"I've been working this job for 30 years, and I've never seen anything like this", Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper.

One of the men, Siraj Wahhaj, 39, was wanted in his home state of Georgia for questioning over the disappearance of his three-year-old son, Abdul. According to CNN, Wahhaj is himself the son of a prominent Muslim cleric of the same name in NY.

On August 2, Sheriff Hogrefe issued a search warrant describing "a makeshift compound surrounded by tires and an earthen berm" where Wahhaj along with adult Lucas Morten were thought to be in hiding.

Authorities returned to search the compound after interviews on Friday and Saturday led them to believe the boy might still be on the property.

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

"But what was most surprising and heartbreaking was when the team located a total of five adults and 11 children that looked like third-world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing".

Authorities mounted a raid after receiving a message, possibly from within the compound, that said: "We are starving and need food and water".

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