By Nicole Darrah | FoxNews.com
The remains of a young child were discovered on the grounds of the New Mexico compound in which 11 kids were found abused and living in squalor, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office revealed Tuesday.
Investigators found the remains on Monday morning, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said at a news conference. The child was found on the “inner portion of the compound,” and the sheriff said that information law enforcement agencies obtained led them to a “good idea of a target location” of where to look for the child.
MOMS ARRESTED AFTER 11 CHILDREN FOUND IN ‘FILTHY’ NEW MEXICO COMPOUND WITH ARMED MUSLIM EXTREMISTS,’ COPS SAY
Officials are waiting on an identification of the body, and can’t positively say if it’s the body of missing 3-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.
“We discovered the remains yesterday on Abdul’s fourth birthday,” Hogrefe said, appearing to fight back tears.
Abdul-ghani went missing in December 2017 and sparked the two-month investigation that led authorities to the “filthy” compound.
Five adults were arrested following a raid on the location, in which investigators discovered 11 children — ages 1 to 15 — living in what Hogrefe described as “the ugliest looking, filthiest” conditions he’s seen.
The boy’s mother told authorities that her son suffered from seizures, couldn’t walk because of severe medical issues, and required constant attention.
She told police that in December, the boy’s father, 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj — one of the five arrested on child abuse charges — took the boy on a trip to a park in Clayton County, Georgia, but never returned.
Documents made public in a court filing on Monday said the father told the boy’s mother before he left Georgia that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the child because he believed he was possessed by the devil.
Upon a search of the New Mexico property, Hogrefe said investigators found Wahhaj armed with an “AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket.”
Police said Sunday that investigators believed the missing boy was at the compound in recent weeks.
Fox News’ Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.