AMALIA, NM — The search continues for a missing three-year-old boy in northern New Mexico. This, after a raid led deputies to rescuing nearly a dozen children from a compound. Two men are behind bars, but it’s what investigators saw when they raided the compound that’s most disturbing.
“I’ve never seen anything involving this many children in those type of conditions,” Taos County Sergeant Jason Rael said.
Deputies said there was no running water or electricity. Those kids ranged in age from 1 to 15 years old, but three-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahaj was not one of them.
“We were hoping that the three-year old child was going to be there, and we didn’t find him,” Rael said.
Investigators said they got a tip the child’s father – Siraj Wahaj – was living in the compound, along with another man, Lucas Morten.
“We got some credible information that the welfare of the children had been compromised, so we decided to take action immediately,” Rael said.
But that wasn’t all.
“The intel that we had, we believed they were going to be armed and possibly put up a fight,” Rael said.
Fortunately, no shots were fired, although investigators said Wahaj did have weapons and ammunition on him when he was arrested.
Deputies said both Wahaj and Morten are facing criminal charges, while all 11 children were turned over to Children, Youth and Families Department.
Investigators have not said when they plan to return to that property, but that their main goal remains finding Abdul-ghani Wahaj.
Investigators said three women living at the compound were the mothers of the 11 children. All three have been arrested and have been booked into the Taos Detention Center.