11 children rescued from filthy compound with little food or water

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

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

'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'. "I've been a cop for 30 years".

The boy and his father were reportedly last seen involved in a auto accident on I-65 in Alabama two-weeks after their disappearance. "Unbelievable", Hogrefe told ABC News Radio in a telephone interview. At that time, Siraj Wahhaj said he was taking the little boy to the park, but they never returned. 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.

Two men were arrested during the search while two women at the compound were initially detained before being released pending further investigation, Hogrefe said.

He said Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had surveilled the area a few weeks ago but didn't find probable cause to search the property. But Wahhaj and Morten initially refused to follow commands and Wahhaj was armed with a rifle and four handguns, Hogrefe said. The three women were taken into custody for questioning and were released, officers said. According to the press release, 3-year-old AG Wahhaj, the child believed to have been abducted from Georgia, was not among them. We will continue to work closely with Law Enforcement on this investigation. "It's obvious to me that they were brainwashed and feel great intimidation from the men that were in control of this facility", Hogrefe said of the women and children.

The children are now in state custody, while two men are facing charges. "But they certainly warmed up to us", the sheriff told ABC News Radio.

"We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had", he added.

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Other than a few potatoes and a box of rice, there was little food in the compound, which Hogrefe said consisted of a small travel trailer buried in the ground and covered by plastic with no water, plumbing and electricity.

The children's age ranged from 1-year-old all the way up to age 15-years-old.

The FBI had provided the sheriff's office with information and surveillance on the location of the compound in the Costilla Meadows subdivision of Amalia, nestled in a mountainous region just miles from New Mexico's border with Colorado. "We also knew from the layout of the compound they would have an advantage if we didn't deploy tactfully and quickly", he elaborated.

This Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, photo released by Taos County Sheriff's Office shows Siraj Wahhaj.

"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 right after I got that intercepted message - it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief", said Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe in a statement posted to the sheriff's office Facebook page.

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