Taos County deputies have found remains they believe belong to Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, the boy who would have turned 4-years-old yesterday. His father, Siraj Wahhaj, allegedly abducted him last December and took him to what is being described by the sheriff as a heavily armed, extremist Muslim compound where children lived in squalid conditions.
T. S. Last
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
SANTA FE, N.M. — Three women believed to be the mothers of 11 children living in what Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe described as “the ugliest, filthiest living conditions” he had ever seen at an improvised compound in Amalia near the Colorado border have been arrested and charged with 11 counts of child abuse, each count a third degree felony.
The same charges were filed against two Georgia men after the Taos Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the property Friday evening. The children, ranging in age from 1 to 15, were taken into custody and are now in the hands of the Children Youth and Families Department. However, the whereabouts of a boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who turns 4-years-old today and was allegedly abducted in Clayton County, Ga. last December by his father, one of the men arrested on Friday, is still unknown, according to a news release.
Last Friday, Siraj Wahhaj and Lucan Morton were arrested after state and county law enforcement officials raided the compound. In addition to the child abuse charges, Wahhaj was booked on child abduction charges in Georgia and Morton was charged with harboring a fugitive.
Wahhaj, the father of the missing boy, was armed with an AR-15 style rifle, and was in possession of five loaded 30-round magazines and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was “taken down,” according to the sheriff. Hogrefe said law enforcement had to take a tactical approach to while executing the search warrant because he learned “the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”
The sheriff said in a news release at the time of the men were arrested that the women were not cooperating with law enforcement officials.
The sheriff identified the women as Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35. They were booked into the Taos County Adult Detention Center.
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