(PHOENIX, Arizona) — The hunt for a father who allegedly kidnapped his sick son in Georgia led to the discovery of 11 abused children in New Mexico.
The case is still being investigated, with police set to give an update on Tuesday, but some of the court documents that are already public detail how the search began and what a squalid situation the police stumbled upon.
The saga appears to have begun in Clayton County, Georgia, when Siraj Ibn Wahhaj allegedly kidnapped his child, according to an arrest warrant.
The then-3-year-old child, whose name is not being shared by ABC News because he is a minor, reportedly suffered from severe medical issues including Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, which caused the child to suffer from seizures and be unable to walk, the warrant states.
The child’s mother told authorities that Siraj Wahhaj “wanted to perform an exorcism on said child because he believes the child is possessed by the devil,” stated the warrant, which was issued on Jan. 9, 2018.
Nearly seven months later, on Aug. 3, 2018, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico executed a search warrant for Siraj Wahhaj, 39, at a compound in the area of Amalia, which is just under 50 miles north of Taos, near the Colorado border.
“The property is best described as a compound surrounded in part with an earthen berm and old tires stacked up around it, with open trenches and pits, with numerous trip hazards and wood with nails sticking up and broken glass and bottles litter [sic] around the grounds — overall this is readily identifiable and hazardous with extremely filthy living conditions,” a subsequent criminal complaint states.
The complaint goes on to describe that the living conditions “greatly resemble that of what would be considered ‘third world county [sic] in nature’ with odorous trash everywhere, no clean water, no electricity, no plumbing/sewer.”
There were 11 children ranging in age between 1 and 15 years old who “were not clean, without shoes and without proper hygiene and rags for clothing,” the complaint states.
Investigators found loaded firearms were within the children’s reach and assessed that the children had “likely not eaten in days,” the complaint states.
Law enforcement found five adults on the premises, including Siraj Wahhaj.
The other four adults are named in the criminal complaint as male Lucas Morton, 40, and three women, Subhanah Amatullah Wahhaj, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Jany Leveille, 35.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe released a statement Sunday Aug. 6, stating that all five adults have been charged with 11 counts of child abuse, with each count being a third-degree felony. Morton also faces one count of harboring or aiding a felon.
The three women are believed to be the mothers of the 11 children found on the compound, according to the sheriff’s statement.
The young boy who was allegedly kidnapped by Siraj Wahhaj was not one of the 11 children found on Sunday.
The sheriff’s statement noted that law enforcement are still searching for the boy “and are hoping for a positive outcome.”
Today marks the boy’s fourth birthday, the sheriff department stated.
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