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Moms of 11 children found at New Mexico compound arrested

AP  |  Taos 

Three women believed to be the mothers of 11 children found hungry and living in a filthy makeshift compound in rural have been arrested, following the weekend arrests of two men, authorities said today.

A message that people were starving, believed sent by someone inside the compound, led to the discovery of the children. A boy last seen in in December traveling with one of the men who was arrested has not been found.

County, New Mexico, said that the women and the two men face charges of child abuse. He identified the women as Jany Leveille, 38-year-old and 35-year-old

They were arrested in the town of and booked into jail.

The children ranging in age from 1 to 15 were removed from the compound in the small community of Amalia near the border and turned over to state child-welfare workers.

Police are still are looking for AG Wahhaj, reported missing from Georgia's Clayton County, Hogrefe said.

The boy's mother told police he left with his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, for a trip to a park and never returned. The child was 3 at the time.

was detained on an outstanding warrant in alleging child abduction. was jailed on suspicion of harboring a fugitive, said. It was not clear over the weekend if they had lawyers.

said in a missing persons bulletin that Wahhaj and his son were last seen Dec. 13 in Alabama, traveling with five other children and two adults.

The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation in collaboration with Clayton County authorities and the FBI, according to Hogrefe.

He said FBI agents had surveilled the area a few weeks ago but did not find probable cause to search the property.

That changed when detectives forwarded a message to Hogrefe's office that initially had been sent to a third party, saying: "We are starving and need and water." The said there was reason to believe the message came from someone inside the compound.

What authorities found was what Hogrefe called "the saddest living conditions and poverty" he has seen in 30 years on the job. Other than a few potatoes and a box of rice, there was in the compound, which Hogrefe said consisted of a small buried in the ground and covered by plastic with no water, plumbing and

Hogrefe said the adults and children had no shoes, wore dirty rags for clothing and "looked like Third World country refugees." The group appeared to have been living at the compound for a few months. It was unclear how or why they ended up in New Mexico, Hogrefe said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 07 2018. 00:20 IST
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