Court documents released this week are revealing new allegations in the discovery of emaciated children at a New Mexico compound – including that at least one of the kids was being trained to commit school shootings, and that an adult buried a long-missing child there.
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.
Missing child’s search unveils horror
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.
Sheriff: Suspects considered ‘extremists’
Hogrefe, the sheriff, said authorities got a warrant to search the property last week after they received a message from what appeared to be someone inside the compound that said “we are starving and need food and water.”
“I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible,” Hogrefe said in a news release Saturday, “so I began working on a search warrant right after I got that intercepted message – it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”
The sheriff did not elaborate. Later, in a phone interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper on Sunday, Hogrefe said FBI analysts told him the suspects appeared to be “extremist of the Muslim belief.”
CNN has reached out to the suspects’ public defender for comment. The FBI declined to comment.
Suspect cited ‘God’s orders’ in text, neighbor says
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a neighbor of the compound told CNN about exchanging texts with Morten in recent months.
The texts, which CNN is unable to verify independently, appear to show Morten asking for supplies, and asserting that, under “God’s orders” he could drive only from dusk until dawn.
“Good morning Big guy! Can i give u some gas cans and cash could uy hook me up. … Please and thanks in advance,” reads one of the texts to the neighbor, sent on April 26.