“Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn imam who was a possible co-conspirator in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 — but was never charged.”
Friday, authorities raided a New Mexico compound on the Colorado border where they Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was reportedly training children to commit school shootings. That claim was made by a foster parent to one of the children.
Wahhaj and four other adults were arrested and face charges of child abuse. According to CBS News, Wahhaj, “Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn imam who was a possible co-conspirator in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 — but was never charged.”
Eleven children between the ages of 1 and 15 were found in the compound and taken into state custody. The children were living in filthy conditions without running water or electricity, were wearing rags, and were all malnourished.
Eleven children were found living in filthy conditions at a New Mexico compound. 5 adults face child abuse charges, and court documents show one of them is under investigation for training children to commit school shootings. @OmarVillafranca has more. https://t.co/tjOM2qgIKL pic.twitter.com/QIcoLE5kpo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 8, 2018
CBS News has more:
In a Georgia arrest warrant, authorities said 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj had told his son’s mother that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child because he believed he was possessed by the devil. He later said he was taking the child to a park and didn’t return.
He is accused in Georgia of kidnapping the boy.
The arrest warrant issued there says the missing boy has a condition caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow around the time of birth. He cannot walk and requires constant attention, his mother told police.
For months, neighbors worried about the squalid compound built along a remote New Mexico plain, saying they took their concerns to authorities long before sheriff’s officials raided the facility described as a small camping trailer in the ground.
The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation that included the FBI. Hogrefe said federal agents surveilled the area a few weeks ago but did not find probable cause to search the property.
That changed when Georgia detectives forwarded a message to the sheriff that he said initially had been sent to a third party, saying: “We are starving and need food and water.”
Authorities found what Hogrefe called “the saddest living conditions and poverty” he has seen in 30 years in law enforcement. He said Wahhaj was armed with multiple firearms, including an assault rifle. But he was taken into custody without incident.
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.
He said he helped them install solar panels after they arrived but eventually stopped visiting.
Anderson said he met both of the men in the group, but never the women, who authorities have said are the mothers of the 11 children, ages 1 to 15.
“We just figured they were doing what we were doing, getting a piece of land and getting off the grid,” Anderson said.
As the months passed, he said he stopped seeing the smaller children playing in the area and didn’t hear guns being fired at a shooting range on the property.
Jason Badger, who owned the property where the compound was built, said he and his wife had pressed authorities to remove the group after becoming concerned about the children.
Authorities are working to identify human remains found in the inner portion of the compound.
From Fox News:
“The remains are in a state of decomposition that has made identification challenging,” chief medical investigator Kurt Nolte said. “Investigators often try to compare remains to radiologic images, fingerprints, DNA or other identification materials.”
“At this time, investigators are using all known methods to make an identification, but this will not be a quick process. If we must rely on DNA results, identification could take many weeks,” the office said.
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