Moms of 11 children found at New Mexico compound arrested

Father arrested for abduction; son still missing

Almost seven months later, on August 3, 2018, the Taos County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico executed a search warrant for Siraj Wahhaj, 39, at a compound in the area of Amalia, which is just under 50 miles north of Taos, near the Colorado border.

The sheriff said the compound was made up of a small travel trailer buried in the ground and covered with a tarp, providing no running water, plumbing or electricity. The children, who were aged 1 to 15, looked like "third-world-country refugees" and had only "dirty rags for clothing", said Hogrefe.

Siraj Wahhaj was detained on an outstanding warrant in Georgia alleging child abduction, and Lucas Morten was jailed on suspicion of harbouring a fugitive.

The sheriff's office announced the charges Sunday following a months-long investigation into Ibn Wahhaj, who investigators say had kidnapped the 3-year-old boy, who is his son, from almost 1,500 miles away, in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Tyler Anderson, who lives near the compound, believes the group had moved to the area to live off the grid, just as he had done.

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.

The mother said her son left to go to the park with his father, Siraj Wahhaj, on November 30.

The sheriff described "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".

Anderson said the children found inside the compound at first played at neighboring properties but stopped in recent months.

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Authorities staged a raid after someone believed to have been in the compound sent out a message for help that said: "We are starving and need food and water".

The then-3-year-old child, whose name is not being shared by ABC News because he is a minor, reportedly suffered from severe medical issues including Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, which caused the child to suffer from seizures and be unable to walk, the warrant states. Georgia officials want him extradited to face a charge of abducting his son, Abdul-ghani, from the state in December when the boy was 3 years old.

The message said: "We are starving and need food and water".

Neither family nor authorities could be reached over the weekend, so it's unclear how police tracked Ibn Wahhaj and company to Taos County - a mountainous, sparsely populated region along New Mexico's northern border. They are now in protective services along with their children.

Wahhaj and another man, identified as Lucas Morten, were the two adults at the compound who appeared in charge.

After investigating, multiple agencies raided the compound Friday morning. Investigators believe the women are the mothers of the children.

"We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had-it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen", he continued.

An aerial photo released by Taos County Sheriff's Office shows the rural compound where 11 children were rescued from squalid conditions on Friday.

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