Child’s body found at Taos County compound

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

For months, neighbours had been concerned about a squalid compound built in a remote part of the U.S. state of New Mexico, saying they had brought their concerns to authorities long before sheriff's officials first found 11 hungry children, and then the remains of a small boy on the lot.

The children, ranging in age from one to 15, were discovered last week in a raid of a partially underground rural New Mexico compound and turned over to state child welfare workers.

Investigators said that's where they found Siraj Wahhaj living in a filthy trailer in what police described as some sort of makeshift compound in some of the worst conditions they've ever seen.

Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj was reported missing on December 10, 2017, out of Clayton County, Georgia by his mother.

The remains of a young boy were found on a return visit to the site on Monday, on what would have been the missing child's fourth birthday, Hogrefe said.

Hogrefe, in an August 4 statement, said that officials found the "occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief". Wahhaj was booked with no bond because of a warrant related to his missing son, while Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive.

Family confirmed to 11Alive that Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj are Siraj Wahhaj's sisters, and one of them is married to Morten. Meanwhile, Hakima Ramzi, Wahhaj's wife, said she was aware that her husband wanted to do something about their son's medical issues, CNN reports.

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The latest affidavit also provides more detail on what officers found when they raided the compound on Friday.

Police said Sunday that investigators believed the missing boy was at the compound in recent weeks.

According to the extradition warrant, Wahhaj told the boy's mother that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child, who suffered from seizures, because he believed the 3-year-old was possessed by the devil. The group told police they were headed to New Mexico to go camping, and continued on their way.

He said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had surveilled the area a few weeks ago but did not find probable cause to search the property.

It came, apparently, from someone inside a makeshift compound hidden in Taos County, New Mexico and made its way to the sheriff's office through someone else who received it and got it to law enforcement in Georgia.

The state agency said it planned to file a petition with the court to maintain custody of the children, according to Monique Jacobson, cabinet secretary for the department.

What authorities found was what Hogrefe called "the saddest living conditions and poverty" he has seen in 30 years on the job.

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"I have learned that at least two of the children disclosed that AG Wahhaj was at the compound and in poor health and died there", Hogrefe wrote.

The boy's mother told police he left with his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, for a trip to a park and never returned.

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

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is reportedly the son of Siraj Wahhaj, a prominent imam at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y., who has posted on social media about worries over the missing boy and other family members. The women are believed to be the mothers of the 11 children found at the camp.

The message said simply: "We are starving and need food and water".

The group appeared to have been living at the compound for a few months.

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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He said the children looked like "Third-World country refugees" with no fresh water, no shoes, "and basically dirty rags" for clothing.

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