Authorities confirmed the remains found on a New Mexico desert compound are those of a 3-year-old boy who had been missing from Clayton County.
Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj would have turned 4 on the day he was found, Aug. 6.
“There is no update at this time on cause or manner of death,” the office of the New Mexico medical investigator said Thursday afternoon.
The child had been missing since late November when his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, told the mother he was taking the boy to a park. Instead, authorities say, he went to rural Taos County, New Mexico, with relatives and set up a compound.
Prosecutors have accused the group of teaching children to become school shooters, though attorneys for the adults portrayed the group as misunderstood because they are black, Muslim and living an unusual lifestyle.
Prosecutors said in a hearing this week that the child, who suffered from seizures and developmental delays, might have died from a lack of medical treatment. Instead of giving him medicine, his father allegedly performed rituals to rid the boy of his ailments.
Police were told by at least one of the children found living on the compound that the boy died during one of the rituals, which involved the dad reading from the Quran and placing his hand on the child’s forehead.
Family and authorities had assumed since the discovery of the body that it was the boy, but decomposition made identifying him difficult.
Von Chelet Leveille, brother of the child’s father’s Islamic wife Jany Leveille, said his sister told him the boy would come back to life as Jesus.
Prosecutors said children on the site were told by the adults the child would come back as Jesus and then tell them what “corrupt institutions” to eliminate. The brother said that allegation isn’t true.
The father and four adult relatives each face 11 counts of child cruelty, one for every living child found on the property. No charges have been filed related to the child’s death.
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