Body Found on New Mexico Compound Where 11 Kids Were Discovered

August 7, 2018 Updated: August 7, 2018

The remains of a young child were found on a New Mexico compound where 11 other children were discovered in filthy, squalid conditions, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office said on Aug. 7.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that the remains were found after a search in Amalia. Authorities are awaiting a positive identification of the remains discovered on Aug. 6.

Authorities say the search for 4-year-old Abdul-Ghani, of Georgia, led them Friday to the squalid compound where they found his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, four other adults and 11 children living in filthy conditions.

Five adults, including three mothers, were charged in the case. Jany Leveille, 35; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35; were arrested in the case, police said on Aug. 5.

Two males, Siraj Wahhaj and Lucan Morton, were also arrested in connection with the incident. Officials said Siraj Wahhaj was armed with an AR-15 rifle and other guns.

During the raid, children between the ages of 1 and 15 were found in the compound. They looked like “third-world-country refugees” and had only “dirty rags for clothing,” the sheriff said.

Hogrefe, in an Aug. 4 statement, said that officials found the “occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”

Siraj Wahhaj (L) and Lucas Morton, face child abuse charges. (Taos County Sheriff's Office)
Siraj Wahhaj (L) and Lucas Morton, face child abuse charges. (Taos County Sheriff’s Office)

Individuals found in the compound, described as a buried trailer, had “no shoes, personal hygiene, and basically dirty rags for clothing,” Hogrefe said. “We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had–it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,” he added.

Hogrefe said the move to search the facility came after a Georgia investigator forwarded a message to him in which someone at the compound told another person that people there were starving and needed water.

Hogrefe said that sheriff’s officials searched the property after they got a tip from an investigator in Georgia, who relayed a message of distress from a person living in the compound.

“The message sent to a third party simply said in part, ‘We are starving and need food and water,’” Hogrefe said. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.