Authorities looking for a missing 3-year-old Georgia boy say his father and another man were training nearly a dozen children at a remote New Mexico compound to commit school shootings with assault rifles, reports AP.
While police didn’t find the toddler, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj – who went missing in December in Jonesboro, Georgia – authorities discovered 11 other children ranging in age from 1 to 15 years old held in “the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen,” while the remains of a boy were also found on the compound which have not yet been positively identified by medical examiners.
Authorities say the father of the 3-year-old told the mother that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child, and that he was bringing the boy to a park after which he never returned.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, and Lucas Morten were operating the makeshift compound in Amalia, New Mexico, and were described as “heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief” by Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a statement posted to the agency’s Facebook page on Saturday.
While the suspects initially refused to surrender to authorities, they later taken into custody without injury. Three women believed to be the children’s mothers were also arrested; Jany Leveille, 35; Hujrah Wahhaj, 38; and Subhannah Wahha, 35. The women were initially released after questioning Friday but were later arrested on charges of neglect and child abuse after further investigation, according to Police.
For months, neighbors worried about the squalid compound built along a remote New Mexico plain, saying they brought their concerns to authorities months before sheriff’s officials raided the encampment, described as a small camping trailer in the ground.
Authorities said during the raid Friday that they had found the father armed with multiple firearms, including an assault rifle. They also said they believed there was a shooting range on the site.
The group arrived in Amalia in December, with enough money to buy groceries and construction supplies, according to Tyler Anderson, a 41-year-old auto mechanic who lives nearby. –KTUU
Anderson says he met both of the men from the group, but never the women.
“We just figured they were doing what we were doing, getting a piece of land and getting off the grid,” said Anderson.
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