A suspected child abductor found with 11 children and four other adults at a squalid New Mexico compound had trained at least one of the minors to use an assault rifle in preparation for a school shooting, prosecutors said Wednesday, reports the Washington Post. The children, between the ages of 1 and 15, were taken to the compound by some adults for the purpose of receiving weapons training for future acts of violence. Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, who was wanted on suspicion that he had abducted his 3-year-old son, was arrested along with four other adults after Taos County officials raided the barren property in the midst of scrubland on Friday. A judge ordered the group held without bond.
The arrests were the culmination of a months-long search for the missing child, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. The young boy was not among the 11 children found at the property, and investigators are working to identify a child’s remains that they say they found in the area after getting a second search warrant. The search for Abdul-Ghani began nine months ago in Jonesboro, Ga., where his mother told police that her husband had taken him to a park and never returned. The boy was encephalopathic, had trouble walking, suffered from seizures and required an emergency medication that the father did not have, his mother told police. Law enforcement officials in Taos County said they received information about a child who had been abducted by their father in May. And the compound in Amalia, N.M., had not gone unnoticed by local law enforcement authorities, who surveilled the location in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and noticed that it had a shooting range.