New Mexico sheriff: Compound searched, 11 kids removed

Howard TerryAug 08, 2018

Positive identification by autopsy has yet to be made, but the remains were believed to be those of a 3-year-old boy whose disappearance from his home near Atlanta, Georgia, eventually led to Friday's search of the property, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told a news conference.

The compound was on land owned by local resident Jason Badger, who said he had repeatedly asked the local authorities to remove the group from his property.

New Mexico authorities learned in May about the abduction, the sheriff said.

"Yesterday at 11:19 a.m., we did find the remains of a young boy".

The public defender's office in Taos County did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Eleven children were held with little food or water in a makeshift compound in Costilla Meadows, Ga., for an unknown period of time before police raided the location on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

A message pleading for food and water has led USA police to rescue 11 malnourished children held captive in New Mexico.

National Center for Exploited or Missing Children Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj is the four-year-old toddler who went missing last November and was tied to the New Mexico compound that was recently raided.

Morton was among five adults arrested after the Taos County sheriff raided the compound in search of the missing Georgia boy who was not found. Authorities haven't released many details about the search for him.

A warrant for a Georgia man arrested August 3 at a remote Northern New Mexico compound for allegedly abducting his disabled 3-year-old son indicates the father believed the child was "possessed by the devil" and "wanted to perform an exorcism on him".

Both the children and women are now in the custody of child protective services. "People that are trying to get away from things".

"We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had - it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen", Hogrefe said.

The Taos County Sheriff said the 3-year-old boy was not among the children which he described as being in heartbreaking condition, starving with no food or fresh water.

Police arrested two men, Siraj Wahhaj and Lucas Morten, after discovering the compound. Three women, believed to be the children's mothers, were also found. Warrants for Siraj's arrest claimed he took his son to perform an exorcism on the child and was denying Abdul-Ghani medications.

Morton was taken into custody on suspicion of harboring a fugitive.

The children were turned over to state child welfare workers. Aleks Kostich of the Taos County Public Defender's Office said Tuesday his agency is gathering information and assigning attorneys to the defendants.

It's because of Abdul-Ghani's disability that police were able to estimate that he was recently at the compound, CNN reports. Hogrefe said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and officials from Clayton County Police Department had been working the case for about two months.

The remains of a young boy have been found on a filthy New Mexico compound where authorities rescued 11 children last week, according to police.

"I didn't want to just kick them out", Badger said.

The scene at the compound was described as something reminiscent of a horror film and included a trailer that had been completely buried underground covered up with tarps.

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