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OMI: ID of child’s body found at compound could take weeks

SANTA FE — The state Office of the Medical Investigator says it could take weeks to identify the remains of a small child that were found buried at a makeshift compound in Taos County on Monday.

The body possibly belongs to Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who would have turned 4 on Monday. The boy was allegedly abducted by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, in Georgia and taken to the compound near Amalia.

Kurt Nolte, chief medical investigator at OMI, said in a statement that decomposition of the body is making identification difficult and said it could take several weeks.

“Investigators often try to compare remains to medical records, fingerprints, DNA or other identification materials,” Nolte said. “At this time, investigators are using all known methods to make an identification, but this will not be a quick process. If we must rely on DNA results, identification could take several weeks.”

Wahhaj and four other adults were arrested after Taos County deputies and state officials raided the compound on Friday. Eleven children, ages 1 to 15, appeared to be malnourished and were taken into state custody.

Court documents filed in Taos County claim the children were being trained to commit school shootings and may have been taken to the compound to receive weapons training.