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Authorities ID remains of missing Georgia boy at N.M. compound

By
Daniel Uria
The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator identified remains found at a makeshift compound as those of missing 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj Thursday. Photo courtesy National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator identified remains found at a makeshift compound as those of missing 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj Thursday. Photo courtesy National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Remains found at a makeshift compound in New Mexico were identified as those of missing Georgia 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, the state's Office of the Medical Investigator.

Now that the boy's remains have been identified, prosecutors expect to file additional charges against the five adults arrested at the compound earlier this month, including the child's father, Siraj Wahhaj, who was accused of abducting him from his home in November, The Taos News reported.

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The boy's remains were found wrapped in a sheet and encased in plastic in a tunnel used to store firearms on Aug. 7, days after 11 emaciated children were found held hostage at the compound. Police said they searched the compound after Abdul-Ghani's mother told them his father kidnapped him.

Office of the Medical Investigator representative Alex Sanchez said investigators had to use several means to make a positive identification due to the condition of the body.

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"Our thoughts and prayers go to Wahhaj's family," Sanchez said. "We certainly understand the heartbreak this news will cause and want to stress our commitment to investigating this death to serve the living."

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The office didn't provide any further details about the circumstances of the boy's death.

Prosecutors said the boy died during one of group's religious rituals and testimony by an FBI agent said his body was washed several times, wrapped in sheets and buried on the compound.

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They also said the children were being trained to kill and they carried out the ritual so the boy would be resurrected as Jesus and identify institutions for the group to attack.

The five adults were each released from jail on a $20,000 bond Monday after New Mexico state District Court Judge Sarah Backus said prosecutors failed to prove the group posed a threat to the public.

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