The Latest: Prosecutor says no charges yet in boy's death

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj Photo: AP
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj

August 16, 2018 07:51 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the identification of a boy's body found at a makeshift living compound in New Mexico (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

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A prosecutor says no new charges are imminent because of the identification of a boy who was found dead at a remote compound in northern New Mexico.

District Attorney Donald Gallegos said Thursday in an interview that authorities "need something else, actual cause of death, manner of death."

Abdul-ghani Wahhaj (ahb-DOOL' GAH'-nee wah-HAJ') went missing in December and authorities say he was taken from Georgia to New Mexico by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (see-DAHJ' IBN wah-HAJ'). Authorities have said they believe the child died in February, when he was three.

Charges of child neglect were filed against the father and four other adults after a raid at the compound turned up 11 children living in filth with the adults.

The boy's body was found on Aug. 6.

His father is being held on a warrant from Georgia that accuses him of abducting his son.

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4:15 p.m.

A lawyer who represents the Georgia mother of a boy who authorities say was abducted and identified from human remains at a remote New Mexico compound says she now has "some sense of closure in this matter."

The lawyer for Hakima Ramzi, M. Khurram Baig, said Thursday in a statement that she will now turn her attention "toward giving her son a proper burial in accordance with Islamic traditions."

He also says she will cooperate with authorities in their investigation into the death of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj (ahb-DOOL' GAH'-nee wah-HAJ').

Authorities say he was three when he died and was discovered on what would have been his fourth birthday.

The boy went missing in December in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Authorities say his, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (see-DAHJ' IBN wah-HAJ'), had told his wife he wanted to perform a ritual on the child, later said he was taking the boy to a park and didn't return.

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4 p.m.

A prosecutor in northern New Mexico says his office will appeal a state judge's decision allowing the release of defendants accused of child neglect at a desert compound where 11 children were found living in squalor.

Taos-area District Attorney Donald Gallegos said Thursday that he thought the judge received all the information necessary to hold all five defendants in jail pending trial and that he wants another "set of eyes and ears" to consider the case. The appeal has not yet been filed.

Judge Sarah Backus said that prosecutors failed to prove any specific threat to public safety or 11 children now in state custody.

Three of the five defendants, all women, were ordered released but are still in custody because of safety concerns regarding their release.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (see-DAHJ' IBN wah-HAJ') will continue to be held on a warrant from Georgia that accuses him of abducting his son from the boy's mother. Another woman who is from Haiti was turned over to federal immigration officials.

Prosecutors have said the group was training children to use firearms for an anti-government mission and should remain in jail pending trial.

Defense attorneys disputed accusations of neglect and said guns on the property were legally owned.

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3:20 p.m.

Authorities say human remains found at a New Mexico desert compound have been identified as those of a missing Georgia boy with severe disabilities.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said Thursday that the remains were those of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj (ahb-DOOL' GAH'-nee wah-HAJ'). He was found Aug. 6 after he went missing in December in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Authorities say the boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (see-DAHJ' IBN wah-HAJ'), had told his wife he wanted to perform a ritual on the child, later said he was taking the boy to a park and didn't return.

An arrest warrant was issued for the father. The search for the boy led authorities to the compound this month.

Wahhaj faces child abuse charges along with four other adults arrested at the compound.

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(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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