Police in New Mexico rescued 11 children who were living in a "filthy" compound with Muslim extremists. Three women, who were the mothers of the 11 kids, were arrested and charged with neglect and child abuse of the children. Two adult men were also taken into custody during the raid.
Authorities raided the compound while searching for four-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who was reported missing by his mother eight months ago. Police did not find the child in the remote desert compound but they did find the boy's father, who is suspected of abducting Wahhaj, though he was uncooperative with investigators.
“We did an extensive search for the missing child, our primary target,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said. “We certainly didn’t want to leave that place and leave a child behind and I’m confident we did not.”
Hogrefe described the compound as "the ugliest looking, filthiest” environment he has ever seen children forced to live in.
“The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer. But what was most surprising, and heartbreaking was when the team located a total of five adults and 11 children that looked like third world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.”
Authorities had been surveilling the compound for some time but lacked probable cause to search it. That all changed when authorities received a note from inside the compound complaining about the horrific conditions, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
“The message sent to a third party simply said in part, ‘We are starving and need food and water,’ ” Hogrefe wrote in a news release. “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.”
Investigators said they believe the young boy was at the compound at some point during the last few weeks and will continue to search for him.