US Police find starving children in New Mexico compound

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

11 children found in squalid compound near New Mexico/Colorado state line

The body of a four-year-old boy has been found in a dilapidated camp in the U.S. state of New Mexico where 11 children were rescued in appalling conditions, police said.

Investigators found remains of a young boy in the inner portion of the compound on Monday, but no identification has been made yet, said Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe.

Even though young Abdul was reported missing, there was no child abduction warrant against Wahhaj because he was married to his son's mother - meaning they both had equal custody of the boy, Clayton County police said.

The missing boy's father, who the sheriff said was heavily armed when taken into custody, was identified as Siraj Wahhaj, 39.

But Hogrefe reiterated at the conference Tuesday that he didn't have sufficient probable cause to raid the property until a distress message - "reasonably believed" to have come from within the compound - was relayed to his office by a detective in Clayon County Georgia last week.

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. However, there was no sign of Abdul.

Sheriff Hogrefe said they worked with other agencies and believed that the missing could still be on the compound. It said Hogrefe had sworn "an affidavit for arrest warrants charging 11 counts of child abuse for all five adults related to the neglect and abuse of the children involved".

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However, it took a plea for help and the search for a missing Georgia boy to finally draw sheriff's deputies to the desolate site that was walled off by stacks of old tires, wooden pallets and other debris.

At a news conference in Taos, Hogrefe described Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance efforts in recent months that included photographs of the compound and interviews.

Taos County Solid Waste Department Director Edward Martinez, center, surveys property conditions at a disheveled living compound at Amalia, N.M., on August 7.

Abdul-Ghani was allegedly abducted by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, in December 2017.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is accused of leaving Georgia in December with his then three-year-old son, and will face court later today.

The women, believed to be mothers of some of the children, have been named as Jany Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj, both 35, and Hujrah Wahhaj, 38.

They said the children, aged one to 15, had no shoes, were wearing rags and "looked like Third World refugees".

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Police received a search warrant last week after seeing a third-party message from someone on the compound that said, "We are starving and need food and water". Federal Bureau of Investigation agents refused to request a search warrant, but the Taos County Sheriff's Office moved quickly and took both men, one of which was heavily armed, into custody during an all-day raid Saturday. The group told police they were headed to New Mexico to go camping, and continued on their way.

"Mr. Wahhaj seemed to be very concerned about his weapons and stated several times that they were his property and that he owned them legally", the report said.

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

It was not clear who sent the message or how it was communicated.

In the aftermath of the raid, Badger visited the compound.

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

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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