Eleven children rescued from New Mexico compound after 'we're starving' note

Eleven children were held with little food or water in a makeshift compound in Amalia N.M. for an unknown period of time before police raided the location on Friday Aug. 3 2018

Taos County Sheriffs Office

However, what they did find was even more hard for most people to fathom.

But Wahhaj and Morten initially refused to follow commands and Wahhaj was armed with a rifle and four handguns, Hogrefe said. The women are reportedly believed to be the children's mothers.

"I absolutely knew that we couldn't wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible, so I began working on a search warrant", Hogrefe said in a press release.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the search of the Amalia dwelling, which is just a few minutes south of the Colorado border, was the result of a two-month investigation conducted with the FBI and Clayton County Police Department into the whereabouts of the boy, who turns 4 on August 6.

The 11 children have been taken into care by local social services. Investigators say that's where they found Siraj Wahhaj living in a filthy trailer, living what police described as some of the worst conditions they've ever seen.

Hogrefe said the adults and children had no shoes, wore dirty rags for clothing and "looked like Third World country refugees".

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But the missing boy from Georgia, Abdul Ghani Wahhaj, was nowhere to be found.

Wahhaj was booked on his warrant out of Clayton County.

Siraj Wahhaj, 39, was wanted out of Clayton County, Georgia for the abduction of his 3-year old son, Abdul Wahhaj.

Then Hogrefe's office received a message - thought to have come from someone inside - from a third party, saying, "We are starving and need food and water".

The boy's mother told police her child, who she said suffered from seizures along with development and cognitive delays, went to the park with his father Mr Wahhaj last December and never returned. He identified the women as Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahha.

A total of 11 children, ranging from one to 15 years old, were taken into protective custody by New Mexico state officials.

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Law enforcement raided a compound in northern New Mexico that led to 11 children being taken into CYFD custody.

But of the 11 children found, Abdul Ghani Wahhaj - the missing boy from Georgia - was not among them.

"It had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned two occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief", the sheriff said in a news release. Wahhaj and Morten, both from Georgia, were arrested and charged with child abduction and harboring a fugitive, respectively. At this time, authorities have not arrested these women, though they were temporarily detained.

The search at the compound just a few miles from the Colorado border came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Hogrefe.

Throughout the day Sunday, other area residents drove past the property as a New Mexico State Police helicopter was overhead.

"We did an extensive search for the missing child, our primary target", Hogrefe said.

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None of the adults would give a statement as to the boy's whereabouts, Hogrefe said after the raid, but "it was reasonably believed he was there a few weeks ago".

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