11 children, 3 women found in 'filthy' compound, 2 men arrested

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The children, ages 1 to 15, looked like "third-world country refugees' and had only "dirty rags for clothing", Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said". Three women, believed to be the children's mothers, were detained and later released.

A father who took his now-missing child out of Clayton County past year was found in New Mexico, although the child is still missing.

Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive and Wahhaj was booked on his no-bond Georgia warrant for child abduction.

Tyler Anderson of Amalia said Tuesday he had helped the newcomers install solar panels after they arrived in December.

The sheriff's office said none of the adults, including the three women, gave a statement regarding the missing boy's current whereabouts. There, they kept 11 children in squalid conditions.

The Badgers tried to negotiate with the occupants to do a land swap, but Wahhaj wasn't able to come up with the funds to complete the swap, they said.

Mr Wahhaj told police the group was traveling from Georgia to New Mexico to go camping.

"I want to first express my gratitude for law enforcement for helping to locate my family", the elder Wahhaj said. "They never did a damn thing about it".

The search for the father and son took authorities to Amalia, New Mexico.

In the affidavit for the warrant, the sheriff said that he reasonably believed Wahhaj and his son were inside the compound along with Morten.

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Police had been looking for a toddler missing from the USA state of Georgia when they received a message through an investigator which warned that those in the compound were "starving and need food and water".

The warrant came after a two-month investigation in conjunction with Clayton County and FBI investigators.

The FBI provided information and surveillance on the spot but "didn't feel there was enough probable cause to get on the property", Mr Hogrefe said. But he eventually stopped visiting the compound. Also on the property, they found what Jason Badger described looked like "an escape tunnel" that extended 150 feet and had nooks that contained sleeping bags.

On Tuesday, Hogrefe and 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos said the charges against the defendants may be amended as the investigation moves forward.

The arrests were part of an operation connected to a months-long search for an abducted three-year-old, according to the Taos County sheriff's office. Arraignments are expected to be finished for all five defendants by end of day Wednesday (Aug. 7), Gallegos said.

Police were led to what they said was a "filthy" compound in New Mexico with two Muslim men, three women, and 11 children.

Other information was gathered through interviews conducted throughout the weekend, Hogrefe said.

That man was one of the five adults arrested at the compound Friday, and the 11 children were put into protective custody - but it's unclear what happened to the missing Georgia boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. The children were taken away for medical tests.

The mother told police her son has to take medication because he suffers from seizures, developmental and cognitive delays and is unable to walk due to suffering a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) at birth.

An arrest warrant affidavit for Wahhaj said the mother claimed Wahhaj "wanted to perform an exorcism" on the child because he believed Abdul-Ghani was possessed by the devil.