A child’s remains found at a northern New Mexico compound earlier this month have been positively identified as Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, the four-year-old son of one of the five “Muslim extremist” suspects arrested earlier this month, Fox News reported on Thursday.
The boy, who went missing from his home in Jonesboro, Georgia, in December 2017, reportedly suffered from seizures and couldn’t walk.
The cause of death was unclear due to the condition of the boy’s remains, a spokesperson for the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center said in a statement. But Abdul allegedly died amid an exorcism of sorts intended to “cast out demonic spirits.”
“It was a religious ritual carried out… a ritual intended to cast out demonic spirits from Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj,” Taos County Prosecutor John Lovelace told reporters.
Abdul’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, is the son of a notorious New York City imam linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Eleven hungry and malnourished children ages 1 to 15 were found living in the “filthy” compound in Amalia, New Mexico, near the Colorado border.
One of the children taken into custody told authorities that the boy had died back in February. Prosecutors claimed during a court hearing on Monday that Wahhaj had denied his son medication. They also said that the children were trained to use firearms “to kill teachers, law enforcement, and other institutions.”
FBI agent Travis Tayor said during the hearing that the children were led to believe that Abdul would “would become Jesus” after his demons were exorcised. And once the boy “became Jesus,” he would tell the others what corrupt institutions needed to be gotten rid of.
Public defenders argued the father was just trying to heal the child by reading passages from the Koran.
Judge Sarah Backus ruled that three of the five defendants — Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Hujrah Wahhaj — could be released on a $20,000 signature bond, despite the prosecutor’s arguments.
Contrary to earlier reports, Jany Leveille and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj are not expected to be released, Fox News reported.
Leveille was transferred to the custody of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Tuesday, and Wahhaj remains in custody due to an outstanding warrant in Georgia stemming from child abduction charges. The 35-year old is originally from Haiti and has been living in the U.S. illegally for more than 20 years, according to federal officials.