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11 Children Found on Compound in Rural New Mexico

abuse missing new mexico

On the 10th of December 2017 a Clayton County resident contacted the County Police to report her 3 year old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj,  missing. She told police that she had not been in contact with the child since December 1st, after the boy’s father claimed that he was taking their son to a local park, never to return.

Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj

(Source)

Abdul was considered vulnerable, not only because he was a child, but due to the fact that he suffered from from HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy) and needed to be closely monitored and cared for as his condition had left him with cognitive and developmental issues and caused him to have seizures. The 3 year old could not walk unassisted, and took daily medication to combat his seizures; however his mother is unsure if the child’s father, 39 year old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, took the medication with him that day or not.

Terrifyingly, just days before Siraj Ibn Wahhaj abducted his own son, he claimed that he believed the child was possessed by the devil and wanted to perform an exorcism on the three year old boy.  Various online articles highlight that 39 year old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn based Imam (also named Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, formerly known as Jeffery12x, born Jeffrey Kearse) who leads at the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Fulton Street. He is known for his early involvement in the NOI (Nation of Islam), his controversial support of Zināʾ (For example capital punishment such as stoning for adulterous behavior, rape etc.), his disdain for homosexuality and being an alleged co-conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. The imam was never formally charged as an unindicted conspirator and claims he was not involved in any way. 

Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj’s mother suspected that her child had been abducted by his own father- a suspicion that was confirmed when authorities were alerted that the father and son had been in a car accident early on December 13th. Their vehicle had overturned almost 180miles away on interstate 65, in Chilton County, Ala.  Chilton County is just over a three hour drive from the missing child’s home at 7021 Tara Blvd, Jonesboro, Georgia. The father and son were not alone in the vehicle, but were accompanied by several others, two of which were adults and five of which were children.

When questioned Siraj Ibn Wahhaj told officers on the scene that the group were on a road trip to New Mexico and were going camping. Police noted that there was no camping gear inside the vehicle however they did note a bulletproof vest, a pair or rifles, three hand guns and a lot of ammunition. Eventually an individual driving a Ford box truck came to pick them up. Unlike regular trucks, Box trucks are usually used to transport cargo; the chassis cab is separate from the cargo box attached, so seeing five children and two adults who do not appear to be a family unit climbing into a 2006 Ford box truck under the dark cover of night indeed seemed suspicious.

 Police made a note of the license plate (CL085217) and traced the truck back to the owner, who turned out to be a resident of Atlanta, Georgia named Lucas Allen Morton.

In August 2018 what has been described in various news reports as a “make-shift compound” was found on an isolated patch of high-desert land in New Mexico,  just south of the Colorado border.

Five adults were living at the compound, along with 11 children between 1-15 years of age.

The children were malnourished and had likely not eaten for days. They were shoeless and dressed in rags.

The adults consisted of the father of missing 3 year old Abdul-Ghani Wahha, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, another Georgia resident, Mr. Lucas Allen Morten and three women who are the mothers of the 11 children- 35 year old Jany Leveille,  38 year old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35 year old Subhannah Wahhaj. Authorities stated that they were unaware of the women’s connections to Wahhaj and Morten but an article from the NY Post shines some light on the matter. The article describes a Facebook update from Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s father, who shares his name. As we can see in the status update he describes the relationship between those at the compound and reveals them to be family.

  

(Source)

Visuals of the compound, located in Amalia, NM show sheets of white plastic draped over the crudely constructed structure, which includes a partly buried, inadequately sized travel trailer. The compound is walled off from the outside world by stacks of tires, wooden pallets and junk. Pits and trenches had been reportedly dug into the ground, and the land was scattered with broken glass, bullet shells and nails. Images of the inside reveal squalid living conditions, including a poorly improvised toilet and a living space crammed with what has been described as “odorous” trash and no clean running water or electricity. The Box Truck belonging to Mr. Lucas Allen Morton was found parked on the property. The truck is seen later in news footage crammed with dirty mattresses and junk.

(Source)

The land the compound was built on belongs to a couple, Tanya and Jason Badger, who planned to build a holiday cottage on their 10 acre plot until it was illegally occupied by Lucas Morten and Siraj Wahhaj. According to the report, Morten and Wahhaj did actually own a plot nearby the Badgers but had accidentally built their compound on the wrong land. The couple had attempted to get the trespassers off their land for several months, to no avail. They reported Siraj Wahhaj in February after seeing him on the property with a small child that they believed to be his missing son. The FBI and local Taos County police had been carefully watching the compound and were forced to jump into action when they intercepted a message that turned out to be a plea for help:  “We are starving and need food and water”.

(Note: some reports state that the message was received by Georgia authorities who received secondhand information that an individual at the compound had informed a third party that they were being starved and had no access to water.)

In a tour of the compound aired on NBC news, Tanya and Jason Badger lead a cameraman around the structure and show expended bullet shells, a DIY target range with evidence of practice, A DVD titled “15 brutal fight enders”, copies of the Quran, cupboards stuffed with soiled blankets and rags, feces and a tunnel stretching 150 miles onto another property.  

Although Siraj Wahhaj was armed with a loaded AR-15 rifle and handgun when police raided the property, the situation ended without injury.

(Source)

Sherrif Jerry Hogrefe of the Taos County department described the scene as “the ugliest looking, filthiest living conditions he’s witnessed.” He also commented that “(the adults) were heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.

The children have been rescued and are now in the hands of child welfare workers / New Mexico CYFD. 

Lucas Morten has been arrested for habouring a wanted criminal and Siraj Wahhaj was arrested on a child abduction warrant.

According to this report in the independent the three women were detained and released.

Lucas Mortem (Source)

­ Siraj Wahhaj (Source)

 Although authorities searched for the missing (now) 4 year old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj in rural New Mexico they have yet to locate him. He has been officially missing since November 29 2017. Morten refuses to give information on the whereabouts of the missing child and Siraj Wahhaj remains the main suspect in his disappearance.

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