A raid on a New Mexico desert compound turned up 11 children wearing rags and living in filth, and also broke open a freaky tale of guns, exorcism, and a search for a missing young boy who suffers from seizures and is nowhere to be found.
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.
Jany Leveille, 35; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35; were arrested in the case, police said on August 5.
Five adults were arrested following a raid on the location, in which investigators discovered 11 children - ages 1 to 15 - living in what Hogrefe described as "the ugliest looking, filthiest" conditions he's seen.
He and four other adults are charged with the abuse of 11 children found in a filthy, makeshift compound.
Even though the boy was reported missing, there was no child abduction warrant against Wahhaj because he was married to his son's mother, and they both had equal custody, Clayton County police said.
One 8-year-old child said that all the adults in the compound had seen Abdul-Ghani deceased and that "Uncle Lucas" - an apparent reference to Morton - washed the body twice and buried it in either a tunnel deputies found around the compound or in the "toilet room".
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Police arrested Morten on suspicion he was harboring a fugitive, officials said. "He can not walk and suffers seizures and requires constant medical attention", Ramzi said.
Authorities raided the isolated property near the Colorado border last week.
Tyler Anderson, who lived near the compound, said he believed the group had moved to the area to live off the grid, just as he had done. She said Wahhaj believed "the child is possessed by the devil" and that he meant to deny the boy his medication.
Anderson said the children found inside the compound at first played at neighboring properties but stopped in recent months.
Clayton County police said in a missing persons bulletin that Wahhaj and his son were last seen December 13 in Alabama, traveling with five other children and two adults.
Everything changed Thursday when authorities said they received a tip about possible starving children living on the compound, and had enough probable cause to put in an affidavit for a search warrant.
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The Taos County Sheriff's Office raided the compound after getting what they believed was a distress call from those at the residence saying they were starving.
Badger said the children "clearly were not taken care of", and believes the sheriff should have - and could have - acted sooner.
"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".
The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Hogrefe.
Police in Georgia say his mother contacted them after her husband, Siraj Wahhaj, told her he was taking the boy to the park.
Authorities in Georgia issued a warrant for Wahhaj's arrest in mid-May, but there was "no immediate information that he was in New Mexico", Hogrefe said.
He also says he never met the three women living at the site and doesn't recall seeing the boy who remains missing.
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"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".