The father of a missing 3-year-old boy who was arrested last week at a New Mexico compound was charged with training children to commit school shootings, according to court documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Prosecutors alleged that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj conducted weapons training at the Taos County compound near the Colorado border. Police arrested Wahhaj, along with four other adults, last week after raiding the compound where 11 children, ages 1 to 15, were found starving and living in filth.
"He poses a great danger to the children found on the property as well as a threat to the community as a whole due to the presence of firearms and his intent to use these firearms in a violent and illegal manner," according to prosecutor Timothy Hasson.
Hasson asked the court to hold Wahhaj, 39, without bail. The judge granted the request pending further proceedings. It's not immediately clear when the suspects will be back in court.
What's the background?
Georgia police received a short message from someone at the compound.
"We are starving and need food and water," the note read, according to the Taos County Sheriff's office. The 3-year-old missing boy was from Georgia, and detectives from that state had been working on the case when they received the message, which they "reasonably believed" came from inside the compound.
The note prompted authorities to obtain a search warrant Thursday.
On Friday, authorities arrested two Muslim men and three women who've all been charged with child abuse. Police also recovered one AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, five 30-round magazines, and four handguns during the raid. This particular accusation wasn't brought up by prosecutors during the suspects' initial hearing Wednesday.
The children "looked like Third World country refugees with not only no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing," the sheriff's department said.
The children are in protective custody.
What about the missing boy?
Wahhaj is the father of Abdul Ghani Wahhaj, who went missing from Jonesboro, Georgia, in December. He reportedly told the child's mother he wanted to perform an exorcism on the boy.
Later, Wahhaj told the boy's mother he was taking him to the park, but he never came back. The boy, who suffered from severe medical disabilities, was unable to walk and needed around-the-clock care.
Authorities have spent months searching for the kidnapped child.
On Monday, officials found the remains of a child on the New Mexico property, the AP reported. Children at the compound told investigators they saw the body of the little boy and that he had been buried at the compound, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The identity of the remains has not yet been confirmed.
Wahhaj is the son of imam Siraj Wahhaj who leads the Masjid al Taqwa mosque on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York. Bombers linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombings in New York City attended the mosque led by Wahhaj.