Man says body found at New Mexico compound is his missing grandson
A severely disabled Georgia boy who authorities say was kidnapped by his father and marked for an exorcism was found buried at the ramshackle compound within the New Mexico desert that has been the main focus of investigators for the previous week, the toddler’s grandfather mentioned Thursday.
New Mexico authorities, nevertheless, mentioned they’d but to establish the stays, found Monday. And prosecutors mentioned they had been awaiting phrase on the reason for dying earlier than deciding on any expenses.
The boy, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, would have turned 4 on Monday. Prosecutors mentioned he was snatched from his mom in December in Jonesboro, Ga., close to Atlanta.
The seek for him led authorities to New Mexico, the place 11 hungry kids and a teen’s stays had been found in current days at a grimy compound shielded by previous tires, wood pallets and an earthen wall studded with damaged glass.
The missing boy’s grandfather, Siraj Wahhaj, a Muslim cleric who leads a well known New York Metropolis mosque, informed reporters he had realized from different relations that the stays had been his grandson’s.
The imam mentioned he didn’t know the reason for dying.
“Whoever is accountable, then that individual must be held accountable,” Wahhaj mentioned.
In an interview with WSB-TV in Atlanta, the boy’s mom additionally referred to as for “justice” as she described how her life had been taken from her after her son was kidnapped by his father, which she mentioned was out of character for him. She and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the imam’s son, had been married nearly 14 years.
“I wasn’t in a position to save my son,” Hakima Ramzi informed the tv station.
‘A little bit excessive’
In Fb messages, Naeemah Rashid, Ramzi’s sister-in-law, informed The Related Press that she, too, was stunned by Wahhaj’s actions, saying he had all the time valued the closeness of their household.
Rashid additionally recalled from Atlanta the deep bond between the boy and his mom, who could not go away the room with out him crying.
Whereas the boy couldn’t stroll, Rashid remembers that he smiled and laughed as he watched his cousins play.
“After all this is a tough time for her,” Rashid mentioned of the mom.
Ramzi, who is from Morocco, filed for divorce in December — the identical month neighbours say Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and others arrived in Amalia, N.M.
A Georgia arrest warrant accused him of kidnapping his baby. Authorities mentioned the daddy at some level informed his spouse he wished to carry out an exorcism on the boy, who suffers seizures and requires fixed consideration due to a scarcity of oxygen and blood movement at delivery.
The kid’s father was amongst 5 adults arrested on suspicion of kid abuse within the raid at the compound. In court docket papers, prosecutors additionally mentioned Wahhaj had been coaching kids there to hold out faculty shootings.
Talking at his Brooklyn mosque, the elder Wahhaj mentioned he had no data of any such coaching.
“It sounds to me it sounds loopy. However I do not know,” he mentioned. “I make no judgments but as a result of we do not know.”
The imam’s mosque has attracted plenty of radicals through the years, together with a person who later helped bomb the World Commerce Middle in 1993.
In a video posted Thursday on Fb, mosque spokesperson Ali Abdul-Karim Judan referred to as the case a “home scenario” and vehemently denied it had something to do with extremism.
“Not one of the expenses had something to do with anyone educating anyone capturing to commit acts of terrorism or to go in and shoot up any faculty,” he mentioned. “As a result of it is a Muslim and the circumstances which are surrounding their scenario, they wish to change the narrative.”
The elder Wahhaj mentioned all 11 of the kids, ages one to 15, had been both his organic grandchildren or members of his household by way of marriage.
“I am very involved with the situation of my grandchildren,” he mentioned.
He mentioned he did not perceive why his son had taken the household and disappeared into the desert, however instructed a psychiatric dysfunction was accountable.
“My son may be perhaps a bit bit excessive,” he mentioned, although he added that he by no means thought he was excessive sufficient to kill anybody. “Excessive-strung,” he mentioned.
The elder Wahhaj mentioned he didn’t know something about his son eager to carry out an exorcism on the boy. However he mentioned his son and one among his daughters had develop into “overly involved” with the thought of individuals changing into possessed.
Underneath FBI surveillance
New Mexico’s Workplace of the Medical Investigator mentioned it was nonetheless working to establish the stays.
Dr. Kurt Nolte, New Mexico’s chief medical investigator, mentioned the stays “are in a state of decomposition that has made identification difficult.” The company mentioned the method may take weeks.
Taos-area District Legal professional Donald Gallegos mentioned he’ll await the findings on how the boy died.
Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe mentioned the FBI put the place below surveillance in current months that included images of the compound and interviews.
He mentioned the pictures had been shared with the mom of Abdul-ghani, however she didn’t spot her son, and the pictures by no means indicated the daddy was at the compound, leaving the sheriff with out the data he wanted to acquire a search warrant.
That modified when Georgia authorities obtained phrase that kids contained in the compound had been ravenous, Hogrefe mentioned.
The elder Wahhaj mentioned the tip got here to regulation enforcement by way of him. He mentioned he was in a position to be taught their whereabouts from a word that his daughter, one of many 5 adults at the positioning, despatched to a person in Atlanta saying they had been ravenous and asking for meals.
That man then notified Wahhaj, who mentioned he determined to ship meals and call police.