New Mexico family believed dead boy's spirit would lead attacks -prosecutors

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 14, 2018

A 3-year-old boy found buried at a New Mexico desert compound died in a ritual to "cast out demonic spirits", but his extended family believed he would "return as Jesus" to identify "corrupt" targets for them to attack, prosecutors said in court on Monday.

The attorneys' objections came Monday as officials with the Taos County Sheriff's Office testified about the recent raid, when the five adults were arrested and 11 children were found living in filthy conditions. In interviews with law enforcement after the raid, the children shared information about his apparent death, Lovelace said in court. The three women were mothers to the 11 children at the compound, police said. They have pleaded not guilty. Other children found there told investigators the boy died during a religious ritual.

The Taos County sheriff, undersheriff, prosecutors and an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent involved in the case all argued the five adults should not be released, Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT reported.

It's still not clear whether the remains are those of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, a boy allegedly abducted by his father.

The body of a young boy believed to be Abdul-Ghani was found in a tunnel at the site three days after the raid.

Authorities also disclosed that police had previously encountered Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Leveille and seven of the children last December when they were involved in a traffic accident in Alabama.

In describing what the children said about the death of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, Lovelace said, "It was a religious ritual carried out on Abdul-Ghani, a ritual meant to cast out demonic spirits" from him.

Meanwhile, a state judge has denied a request by prosecutors to keep in jail the two men and three women who were arrested during a raid at a New Mexico compound as they await trial on child abuse charges.

Prosecutors said in court documents filed last week that Lucas Morton and his wife, Subhannah Wahhaj, along with her brother, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his spouse, Jany Leveille, and another sister, Hujrah Wahhaj, were training the children to use firearms "in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings".

Defence lawyer Thomas Clark, representing Ibn Wahhaj, told reporters afterward that prosecutors were applying a double standard to his client because of his Muslim faith.

They presented evidence of the firearms training done by Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and described a compound fortified by old tires and wooden pallets.

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