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New Mexico family saw dead boy as guide for future attacks - prosecutors

17 August, 2018, 02:41 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Various items litter a squalid makeshift living compound in Amalia N.M. on Friday Aug. 10 2018 where five adults were arrested on child abuse charges and remains of a boy were found. The remains which haven't been positively identified may res

A three-year-old boy whose remains were found buried at a New Mexico desert compound died during a ritual to "cast out demonic spirits", other children living there told investigators, a prosecutor said in court on Monday.

Prosecutor John Lovelace said the three-year-old, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, died during "a religious ritual" meant to "cast out demonic spirits".

The prosecutors provided more details about the accusations during a court hearing Monday in which they asked that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and four other defendants be held pending trial on child abuse charges.

Siraj Wahhaj jokes with his attorney, Tom Clark of Santa Fe, after a judge ruled that he and four other defendants from a Taos County compound raided August 3 can be released from jail after a Monday hearing.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors had argued that the five were risky and should not be granted bail, because they had trained the children to use weapons and carry out school shootings.

A cross-country search for the missing boy and his father led investigators to the 10-acre compound on the outskirts of the community of Amalia near the Colorado border.

In the Georgia case, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the son of a well-known Muslim imam at a mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y., allegedly never returned from a trip to the park with his 3-year-old son in December.

Authorities took the children into protective custody and charged the adults with 11 counts of felony child abuse.

Hogrefe has declined to address most of the criticism, but said that he was unable to legally enter the compound before the August 3 raid and that the search warrant then limited police in what they could take.

He criticised the prosecution for what he said were suggestions that "when black Muslims do it, there seems to be something nefarious, something evil".

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It was on that basis that prosecutors filed petitions with state District Judge Sarah Backus seeking to keep the five detained without bail.

"If these were white people of the Christian faith who owned guns, this wouldn't be as big of a deal", said attorney Clark.

Abdul-Ghani suffered from seizures, but Mr Wahhaj believed the boy was possessed by the devil and needed to be exorcised, court papers said.

When they arrived in New Mexico, Leveille instructed the family to continue performing rituals on Abdul-Ghani to expel demons from his body, Taylor said.

Jany Leveille, another suspect, believed she was receiving messages from God through the angel Gabriel that prompted them to move from Georgia to Alabama and later to New Mexico, according to Taylor.

The Badgers said law enforcement officers from the sheriff's department and the New Mexico State Police visited the site and spoke to members of the group at the entrance to the compound on at least two occasions in January and February to address the Badgers' eviction concerns.

The young boy was found inside a 40-yard tunnel underneath the compound, under human waste, CNN reported.

The father of a boy kidnapped in Georgia would not be released because an arrest warrant has been issued for him in that state.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe has referred to the suspects as "extremist of the Muslim belief".

A neighbor said that target shooting practice was a daily occurrence until police launched aerial drones over the compound. Taylor said JL also told him his mother - Leveille - believed she was pregnant at the same time Hakima Ramzi was pregnant with Abdul.

One of the four other adults arrested at the compound will not be released because an arrest warrant has been issued for him in Georgia. The remains have not been identified.

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