The remains of a young boy found at a remote New Mexico compound police believe was used to train would-be school shooters have been identified as missing toddler Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.
The Office of the Medical Investigator identified the remains days after they were found in an underground tunnel at the desert location in Amala, near the Colorado border, NBC News reported.
The boy’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, is accused of kidnapping the toddler from his home in Georgia back in December.
Prosecutors believe the young boy died during a ritual ceremony to cast out demons. The child reportedly suffered from seizures and could not walk to due to severe medical issues. He was 3 years old when he went missing in December.
The compound was raided earlier this month, when 11 starving children ranging in age from 1 to 15 were rescued from the same location, prosecutors say. Wahhaj and four other adults were arrested. All five adults are each facing 11 counts of felony child abuse for the filthy conditions that the 11 children were found in. The compound reportedly had no electricity, water, or plumbing. The rescued children were swiftly taken into protective custody.
Prosecutors now believe that Wahhaj was training children at the compound to commit school shootings, according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press. A foster parent of one of the 11 children removed on Friday allegedly told police that their child was trained to use an assault rifle so that they could use it to shoot up a school. The adults on the compound "trained the child in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings," court documents state, according to CNN. Police described finding a makeshift shooting range, an AR-15 rifle, four pistols ammo when they raided the area.
"Our thoughts and prayers go to Wahhaj's family," Alex Sanchez, public information officer for The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, said in a statement. "We certainly understand the heartbreak this news will cause and want to stress our commitment to investigating this death to serve the living."
[Photos: Clayton County Police Department, Taos County Sheriff's Office]
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.