Amalia compound

New charges filed against defendants related to child's death at compound near Amalia

Denied medication, child died during Islamic prayer ritual, according to investigators

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 8/24/18

Two adults accused of abusing 11 children at a compound near Amalia in Northern New Mexico were charged with new crimes Friday (Aug. 24) related to the death of a three-year-old boy who was found …

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Amalia compound

New charges filed against defendants related to child's death at compound near Amalia

Denied medication, child died during Islamic prayer ritual, according to investigators

Posted

Two adults accused of abusing 11 children at a compound near Amalia in Northern New Mexico were charged with new crimes Friday (Aug. 24) related to the death of a toddler who was found buried at the site in early August.

The remains of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj were found buried at the property inside a 100-foot tunnel, three days after law enforcement raided the compound to search for the missing boy.

The child was born with a medical condition and suffered from seizures that required medication. He was first reported missing by his mother in early December.

Unable to locate the child during an initial search, law enforcement took 11 other children living there into protective custody and arrested five adults – the missing boy's accused kidnapper and father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, his wife, Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, Subhannah Wahhaj, 35, and Lucas Morton, 40.

All five adults were charged with child abuse, but following medical investigators confirmation that Abdul-Ghani died in their custody, the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office filed two new charges against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille: Abuse of a child resulting in death (placed in a dangerous situation) and conspiracy.

Both charges are first-degree felonies that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in New Mexico.

As of Friday, all five defendants were still held at the Taos County Adult Detention Center. Leveille, a Haitian immigrant, was taken into custody by immigration and customs officers last week, but was returned to the Taos County jail this week to face the new charges.

While the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has not yet determined the 3-year-old's cause of death, details contained in a journal recovered during a subsequent search of the compound indicate the boy died on Dec. 24, 2017, during an Islamic prayer ritual known as a "ruqya."

This is a developing story. For more, check back here at taosnews.com for updates.

Amalia compound

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