Police find body of four-year-old boy at raided camp

Father who took missing Clayton County child found in New Mexico; Kid still missing

Father who took missing Clayton County child found in New Mexico; Kid still missing

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, exorcism, and a search for a missing young boy who suffers from seizures and is nowhere to be found.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said yesterday that the tragic evidence was found after a search in Amalia, but identification has not yet been confirmed.

The investigation started late last year in Jonesboro, Georgia, where 39-year-old Siraj Wahhaj was accused of kidnapping his own toddler - who was ultimately not found.

But it is unclear whether the remains uncovered Monday are those of a missing Georgia boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who was nowhere to be found after authorities stormed the complex on Friday.

"Today we will be filing the petition with the court to maintain custody of those children", Monique Jacobson, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, said, as quoted by CNN.

The search for the missing boy began in January, when Wahhaj's estranged wife in Atlanta, Hakima Ramzi, reportedly recorded a video on Facebook pleading for help finding her son.

The warrant said the boy suffered from severe medical issues, but his father believed he was possessed by the devil.

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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.

Siraj Wahhaj is believed to have taken the boy to perform an exorcism on him, authorities said. They were traveling with two other adults and five other children, and told police they were headed to New Mexico on a camping trip. "For me, that was the breaking point, where I thought we finally had enough probable cause to put in an affidavit for a search warrant and present it to a district judge", the sheriff said.

The children were turned over to state child welfare workers. Both of them face several charges of child abuse.

Hogrefe's deputies are searching for the child, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Georgia authorities in Clayton County, where officials say the boy was living before his father took him around December 1, 2017.

The children, ages 1 to 15, were taken into protective custody.

Court records show that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is scheduled to appear in Taos Magistrate Court.

Two of the children and the other woman were found in a 2006 Ford moving van that deputies believe they were living in.

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Wahhaj was collared on an outstanding arrest warrant from Georgia alleging child abduction.

"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".

"We are starving and need food and water", read the message that provided the impetus for the raid on the rural compound near the Colorado border.

"The "all day" operation went without major incident or any injuries, but when encountered both men initially refused to follow verbal direction and Wahhaj who was held up inside the compound was heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down", Hogrefe said.

The search for Abdul-ghani led authorities Friday to the compound shielded by old tires, wooden pallets and an earthen wall studded with broken glass.

Badger said Tuesday that he had concerns about the compound, but that the courts and other authorities shot down his attempts to break up the encampment - described as a trailer buried in the ground.

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