News World Five charged with abusing children on New Mexico compound face detention hearing

Five charged with abusing children on New Mexico compound face detention hearing

Five parents arrested on charges of abusing their 11 children at a New Mexico compound where a 12th child died under suspicious circumstances were due back in court on Monday for a hearing to decide whether the defendants should remain jailed without bond.

The five, all close relatives of a prominent New York City Muslim cleric who is the biological grandfather of most of the children involved, were taken into custody after a raid on the ramshackle settlement 10 days ago in the high desert north of Taos.

The principal suspect, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, also has been charged with custodial interference in the alleged abduction of his sickly 3-year-old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, last December from the Atlanta home of the boy’s mother.

A cross-country search for the missing boy and his father ultimately led investigators to the 10-acre compound on the outskirts of the community of Amalia near the Colorado border. Eleven children, ranging from one to 15 years of age and described by authorities as clothed in rags and starving, were placed in protective custody during the Aug. 3 raid.

The remains of a young boy, believed to be Abdul-Ghani, were found buried at the site three days later. Authorities have said they were awaiting autopsy results to positively identify the remains and determine a cause and manner of death.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his wife, Jany Leveille, along with his brother-in-law and sister – Lucas Morton and Subhannah Wahhaj – and a second sister, Hujrah Wahhaj, were each charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse.

Prosecutors also have alleged in court documents that all five adults conducted weapons training with their children “in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings.”

It was on that basis that prosecutors filed petitions with state District Judge Sarah Backus seeking to keep the five detained without bail. No charges related to the weapons allegations were known to have been filed prior to Monday’s hearing.

The allegation stemmed from a statement to investigators by a foster parent for one of the children involved, prosecutors said.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe has said authorities found a shooting range at one end of the compound, and that Wahhaj was heavily armed when taken into custody.

One neighbor told Reuters last week that target shooting that had gone on at the property on an almost daily basis until police drones were first spotted circling the area in late May or June, as authorities launched aerial surveillance of the compound.

Top Stories

91 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday

The Health Ministry announced 91 new COVID-19 cases on 26 October, out of 2,285 laboratory tests, taking confirmed infections to 3,636. The break-down of new...

Bottled water withdrawn from Cyprus market

The Health Ministry is informing consumers that within the framework of the officials tests conducted in the market, the Ministry’s health services have tested...

President: Attack against Macron insults European values

In a written statement, President Anastasiades said that this attack, against the French President from the leader of a country which is candidate for...

Finance Minister: No lockdown forseen in 2021 state budget

Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides called on MPs to approve the 2021 state budget given the critical moments facing Cyprus due to the coronavirus...

Mitsotakis-Anastasiades have working lunch

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday had a working lunch with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades. According to government sources, during the lunch they discussed Turkey's...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...