Sheriff: Body of unidentified child found on New Mexico compound

Sheriff: Body of unidentified child found on New Mexico compound

Hakima Ramzi said she knew her husband wanted to rid their 3-year-old son of his medical problems.

On Monday, the boy's fourth birthday, investigators were scrambling to find him - and to understand what happened at the New Mexico compound.

But a tip forwarded to Georgia detective last week set off a series of events that led to a raid at the New Mexico compound. Police later said that the missing child was not found at the scene.

The public defender's office in Taos County did not immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press seeking comment. No positive identification of that child has been made at this time.

Sheriff Hogrefe's deputies are searching for the child, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and authorities in Georgia's Clayton County, where officials say the boy was living before his father took him around December 1, 2017. She told police that he had left for the park with his father, Siraj Wahhaj, and was never brought back. The child's mother became concerned, especially because the little boy suffers from seizures, developmental, and cognitive delays and is unable to walk due to suffering a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy at birth.

However, it took a plea for help and the search for the missing boy to finally draw sheriff's deputies to the desolate site that was walled off by stacks of old tires, wooden pallets and other debris.

(Taos County Sheriff's Department via AP).

When officials finally entered the makeshift compound, they found what one officer called "the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen".

The children, aged one to 15, were so famished they "looked like third world country refugees", Taos county sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said on Sunday, reports CNN.

The second man was identified as Lucas Morten who investigators believe to be the primary person living at the compound.

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The 11 children have been taken into care by local social services.

Three women were also arrested and are facing 11 counts of child abuse.

None of the adults would give a statement as to the boy's whereabouts, Hogrefe said after the raid, but "it was reasonably believed he was there a few weeks ago".

Morton was arrested on the charge of suspicion of harboring a fugitive.

The sheriff says that body was found in the inner portion of the compound. Aleks Kostich of the Taos County Public Defender's Office said Tuesday his agency is gathering information and assigning attorneys to the defendants. The records didn't provide further details on the judge's decision.

A missing boy, whose mother believes he was taken to the compound for an exorcism, was not found.

The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Hogrefe.

Police in the U.S. state of New Mexico have rescued 11 malnourished children kept in a filthy and heavily armed remote desert compound.

The missing child's grandfather, Siraj Wahhaj, is a well-known Muslim imam of the Masjik Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, N.Y. He and other family members posted several pleas over the last few months asking for help finding the toddler, his father and the others. But he eventually stopped visiting the compound that authorities have since described as filthy.