10.8.18

Children found in New Mexico compound were training for school shootings

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Authorities raided the compound near rural Amalia last Friday, rescuing 11 starving children and arresting two men and three women, after what started as an investigation into one of the men's alleged abduction of his son in Georgia.



That boy -- Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj -- was not among those 11 children, but authorities discovered the unidentified remains of a young male at the compound Monday.

In court filings this week, prosecutors allege:

• One of the rescued children told a foster parent the suspects "trained the child in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings."

• They believe the children were taken to New Mexico to receive advanced weapons training but didn't reveal any further details.

• They argue that if the suspects were to be released, there is a substantial likelihood the defendants may commit new crimes due to their planning and preparation for school shootings.

• At least two of the rescued children say that Abdul-Ghani died at the compound. One of the children says an adult buried the boy there.

Prosecutors on Wednesday asked a judge to have the five suspects -- Abdul-Ghani's father, Siraj Wahhaj; the man's sisters, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj; Lucas Morten; and Jany Leveille -- held in jail without bail.

Authorities have said the adults and children were on a property with a makeshift shooting range and two main dwelling areas -- a partially buried camper trailer surrounded in part by trenches and old tires, and a parked utility truck.

Investigators also found an AR-15 rifle, loaded 30-round magazines, four loaded pistols and many rounds of ammunition, officials said.

Police raided the squalid New Mexico compound on Friday, hoping to find Abdul-Ghani. His mother in Georgia says he has been missing for more than eight months.

The boy was last seen leaving his Jonesboro, Georgia, home with his father in late November, and it's unclear what happened to him. His mother had said he cannot walk and suffers seizures, and requires constant medical attention.

The remains of a boy were found at the compound Monday -- the day of the missing child's fourth birthday.

In a court document filed Sunday, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe wrote that one of the rescued children alleged that "Uncle Lucas" had buried Abdul-Ghani at the New Mexico property after washing the body twice.

On Thursday, New Mexico's chief medical investigator said the body's identification would not be quick, because of its state of decomposition.

"If we must rely on DNA results, identification could take many weeks," Dr. Kurt Nolte said.

MIDUFINGA

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