Law enforcement officers have discovered the remains of a young boy at a compound in Amalia, New Mexico, that was raided over the weekend, the county sheriff’s office confirmed Tuesday.
The Taos County Sheriff’s Office went to the makeshift compound on Friday to search for a missing 3-year-old boy, AG Wahhaj. They discovered 11 children and five adults living in a small trailer buried underground and covered in plastic and tires.
A representative of the sheriff’s office confirmed to HuffPost on Tuesday that a boy’s remains had also been recovered during the search but that the child’s identity was not yet determined.
Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a statement on Monday that two men, Siraj Wahhaj and Lucan Morton, and three women believed to be the children’s mothers, were arrested and charged with 11 counts of child abuse.
The children, ages 1 to 15, were taken into protective custody.
“The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer,” the sheriff said at a news conference. Both the adults and the children looked like “refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing. We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had ― it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen.”
The search for the missing boy began in January, when Wahhaj’s estranged wife in Atlanta, Hakima Ramzi, reportedly recorded a video on Facebook pleading for help finding her son.
“He’s sick. He needs his medications,” she said. “He needs everything. I don’t know if he’s alive, or he is, well, I don’t know his condition now. So please, please, I need your help to find my husband and my son.”
The FBI had placed the compound under surveillance two months ago, Hogrefe said, but didn’t have enough evidence to conduct a raid. Police received a search warrant last week after seeing a third-party message from someone on the compound that said, “We are starving and need food and water.”
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place