A 3-year-old Georgia boy whose body was found on a remote compound in New Mexico died during a bizarre ritual conducted by his father and others, prosecutors say.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that other children at the compound, run by Islamic extremists, were told the little boy would come back to life as Jesus and tell them who they should kill, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors in Taos County, New Mexico, say two Georgia men, including one accused of kidnapping his 3-year-old son, were among those training children to become school shooters at the compound, which was raided on Aug. 3.
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In all, five adults are charged with setting up and running the compound, where both children and adults were found malnourished and living in squalid conditions. Eleven children, all believed to be children of the adults there, were found.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Lucas Morten, two of the men, are from metro Atlanta.
Law enforcement officers initially went onto the compound looking for Wahhaj, whose son, Abdul-Ghani, had been missing since November. The AJC reports that family members say Siraj Wahhaj took the boy from his mother, claiming that he was going to take the boy to a park near Jonesboro in Clayton County.
Family members reportedly told police that Siraj Wahhaj had made a trip to Saudi Arabia the month before and, after he came home, he wanted to stop giving the boy medicine and start performing rituals to rid him of “demonic spirits.”
A child at the compound told the FBI that, during the rituals, Abdul-Ghani would foam at the mouth as his father read from the Quran and placed a hand on the child’s head, the AJC reports. Agents told the paper the rituals began before Siraj left Georgia and continued in New Mexico.
The AJC reports that the little boy had suffered from brain damage and seizures since birth.
The adults in the case are each charged with 11 counts of child cruelty. No charges have yet been filed in Abdul-Ghani’s death.
On Monday, a New Mexico judge called testimony from prosecutors troubling. But Judge Sarah Backus granted each of the suspects $20,000 bond, on the condition that they wear an ankle monitor until they get permanent housing in Taos County.
They may only have supervised visits with their children, Backus ruled.
The AJC reports another bizarre twist revealed during testimony on Monday. FBI agent Travis Taylor testified that the rituals came at the urging of a woman named Jany Leveille, who was described as Siraj Wahhaj’s “Islamic wife.”
She believed she was truly the boy’s mother and that Wahhaj’s legal wife in Georgia had used black magic to steal the child from her womb, the agent said. She also said she believed the boy was really already dead before the final ritual and that he was only animated because he was possessed by demons.
Wahhaj is the son of a radical Imam also named Siraj Wahhaj who federal officials have called an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Photos courtesy Taos County (NM) Sheriff’s Office
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