The remains of a young child recovered from a compound in New Mexico has been identified as the missing toddler son of one of the men arrested in coordination with holding a number of abused and malnourished children.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was arrested on suspicion of operating an Islamic extremist camp for training school shooters.
He also reportedly told the mother of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj that he wanted to perform an exorcism on the disabled boy, who went with the man and was never seen again.
The toddler disappeared in Georgia late last year.
While the remains found at the compound earlier this month were initially believed to be his, the suspicions were not confirmed until a report from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center this week.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to Wahhaj’s family,” wrote a spokesperson for the Office of the Medical Examiner. “We certainly understand the heartbreak this news will cause and want to stress our commitment to investigating this death to serve the living.”
Taos County Prosecutor John Lovelace added that the child is believed to have died during a “ritual intended to cast out demonic spirits.”
As of the latest reports available, it was still unclear how the young boy died, but officials indicate his remains are difficult to analyze. Due to the condition of the victim’s body, medical examiners wrote that “investigators had to use several means” of arriving at a positive identity.
In addition to the father, four other suspects were arrested in connection with charges related to child abuse. A total of 11 children of varying ages were rescued from the remote location near the Colorado border.
[Featured image: Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, Clayton County Police Department]