The Latest: Grandfather issues plea to find missing boy
Aug. 06, 2018
TAOS, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on 11 children found living in a filthy makeshift compound in New Mexico (all times local):
The grandfather of a missing Georgia boy has issued a plea for help.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Brooklyn, New York, posted a message on Facebook asking for help in finding his grandson, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.
Authorities in New Mexico arrested the boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, on Friday.
He is one of five adults taken into custody on child abuse charges after authorities found them at a dilapidated compound with 11 children who were hungry and living in filthy conditions. Abdul-Ghani was not among them.
Police say the child was reported missing from Georgia on Dec. 10. The boy's mother told police he left with his father for a trip to a park and never returned.
In a federal court filing in 2006, Wahhaj claimed he was harassed on his way to and from Morocco by customs agents at JFK Airport in New York because he is "the son of the famous Muslim Imam Siraj Wahhaj."
Police say a man wanted in Georgia on child abduction charges and who faces child abuse counts in New Mexico was in possession of handguns, rifles and ammunition as he traveled through Alabama late last year.
Siraj Wahhaj was one of five adults arrested in Taos County after 11 hungry children were found Friday in filthy surroundings. Authorities said the children had likely not eaten for days.
According to a police report from the Dec. 13 accident in Alabama, Wahhaj was traveling through Chilton County with seven children and another adult when their car overturned. Wahhaj told police the group was traveling from Georgia to New Mexico to go camping.
The trooper who wrote the report said he found no camping equipment in or near the vehicle but that Wahhaj was in possession of three handguns, two rifles, a bag of ammunition and a bulletproof vest.
Authorities say a Georgia man accused of abducting his young son in December made it known to the boy's mother that he wanted to perform an exorcism on him because he believed the child was possessed by the devil.
The Georgia arrest warrant for Siraj Wahhaj was included in a court filing Monday in New Mexico, where authorities arrested him, another man, and three women at a "filthy" compound in Taos County.
Sheriff's officials say 11 children found at the compound had probably not eaten for days.
Authorities say the adults were arrested on child abuse charges.
Wahhaj also is being held on the Georgia warrant. His son was not among those found at the compound, remains missing and was 3 when he went missing.
It's not clear when Wahhaj allegedly stated his wishes for an exorcism for his son.
The boy's mother has said he suffered from seizures.
Authorities say a New Mexico compound where five adults and 11 children had been living was found littered with "odorous trash" and that the children probably had not eaten for days.
Criminal complaints filed Monday in Taos Magistrate Court also say the compound in Amalia near the Colorado border had no clean water.
Sheriff's officials say the adults are facing 11 counts each of child abuse.
Jany Leveille, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahha are believed to be the mothers of the children. They were arrested in the town of Taos and booked into jail.
Two men were arrested at the compound by Friday — one on a Georgia warrant alleging child abduction and the other on suspicion of harboring a fugitive.
Police reports show that a Georgia boy missing after authorities raided a New Mexico compound over the weekend was last seen in Alabama in December.
Police say the child was reported missing in Clayton County south of Atlanta on Dec. 10.
The boy's mother told police he left with his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, for a trip to a park and never returned. The boy was 3 at the time.
Clayton County police say in a missing persons bulletin that Wahhaj and the child were last seen Dec. 13 in Alabama, traveling with five other children and two adults.
Authorities have arrested Wahhaj, another man, and three women believed to be the mothers of 11 children found living in filth in a makeshift compound in New Mexico.
Authorities say they've arrested three women believed to be the mothers of 11 children found living in filth in a makeshift compound in rural northern New Mexico.
Taos County, New Mexico, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said Monday that the women and two men who were arrested over the weekend face charges of child abuse.
He says 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahha were arrested without incident in the town of Taos and booked into jail.
The children ranging in age from 1 to 15 were removed from the compound in the small community of Amalia near the Colorado border. They were turned over to state child-welfare workers.
Hogrefe says police still are looking for AG Wahhaj, a child reported missing from Georgia's Clayton County.