TAOS, N.M.—A child’s body found at a New Mexico compound has been identified as Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, a missing 3-year-old boy whose father is one of five adults charged with child abuse at the remote settlement, the Taos County Sheriff said on Aug. 16.
The condition of the body made identification difficult, and investigators had to use different methods to make a positive identification, according to a statement from Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe. The cause and manner of death remained unclear, the statement said.
The severely ill toddler went missing in December in Georgia. His mother, Hakima Ramzi, told police her husband, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, took the boy and never returned.
Authorities unearthed the boy’s body at the compound on Aug. 6, three days after they raided the ramshackle home near Amalia, New Mexico, where they found 11 children in “filthy conditions” with no food or clean water.
The children were taken into protective care and their four parents, along with another adult family member, were charged with child abuse on Aug. 8.
Prosecutors allege the boy died in February as Ibn Wahhaj carried out a faith-healing ritual on him at the compound.
Prosecutors have accused Ibn Wahhaj of leading firearms training for two teenage boys at the compound to carry out attacks on schools, banks and police.
Lawyers for the five defendants say they are being discriminated against because they are black Muslims who practiced faith healing and taught their children how to shoot. Neighbors and relatives dispute allegations the children were starving.
A district judge received death threats on Aug. 14 after she granted bail to the defendants.
By Andrew Hay