For the first time in a week, investigators returned to the makeshift New Mexico compound where 11 starving children lived in squalor.
But this time, they know a lot more about what happened at the filthy site in Amalia, where the decomposed body of a young boy was found.
Investigators searched vehicles on the property on Tuesday, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation.
As authorities return to the compound, four of the five suspects accused of abusing the children could be released on bond at any moment.
Here’s the latest on this bizarre case:
Suspect asks man to drain his bank account and bring guns
Many wonder how 16 people survived for more than seven months with no plumbing and apparently very little food. Those found by authorities include:
— Siraj Wahhaj, who is suspected of fleeing Georgia with his young son Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj
— His sisters Hujrah and Subhannah Wahhaj
— His brother-in-law Lucas Morten
— Jany Leveille, who was considered Siraj Wahhaj’s “Muslim wife”
— 11 children, ages 1 to 15, who are the children of the three women.
On Tuesday, a family member told CNN it was Leveille who wrote a letter to Wahhaj’s brother in December, asking for money and weapons.
“Take all your money out the bank and bring your guns,” said the letter, addressed to “Muhammad.”
“Allah says He will protect you always, so follow until He makes you die as a martyr as you wanted and the only way is by joining the righteous (us).”
Leveille also warns Wahhaj’s brother not to tell his father, because if he does, “you will put all of us in danger. So DON’T.”
Muhammad never joined his brother at the compound in New Mexico.
A disabled boy allegedly died in a religious ceremony
The one child who still hasn’t been seen alive is Abdul-Ghani. Throughout his young life, he’s been plagued by medical problems. He couldn’t walk properly and suffered frequent seizures, his mother told CNN.
After the toddler’s father took him from Georgia to New Mexico, Abdul-Ghani died during a religious ritual meant to cast demons from his body, prosecutors said a preliminary hearing Monday.
The family believed that once the demons were gone, the boy would later return as Jesus and tell his family which institutions to get rid of, a witness said.
It’s still not clear whether the remains of a young boy found at the compound are those of Abdul-Ghani — and if they are, what the cause of death was.
Authorities found the remains on August 6, which would have been Abdul-Ghani’s fourth birthday. But the remains were so decomposed, officials said they might take weeks to identify.
While many people are perplexed by the ritual on Abdul-Ghani, an attorney for the boy’s father said public perception is skewed because of the five suspects’ race and religion.
“If these were white Christians, faith healing is of no consequence because we have freedom of religion in this country,” said Thomas Clark, an attorney for Siraj Wahhaj. “But they look different and they worship differently from the rest of us.”
Leveille allegedly claimed Abdul-Ghani’s mom stole the boy from her womb
More clues are emerging about the drama between Wahhaj; his legal wife in Georgia, who is Abdul-Ghani’s mother; and Leveille, who was found with Wahhaj in New Mexico.
According to court testimony and a family member, Leveille was considered Wahhaj’s “Muslim wife.”
Family members at the compound believed Leveille received messages from God, FBI agent Travis Taylor testified. One of those messages purportedly said family members should go to New Mexico to continue trying to expel demons from Abdul-Ghani.
According to the testimony, one of the older children rescued from the compound said Leveille thought Abdul-Ghani was her baby — and that the toddler’s mother had stolen him from her womb using black magic.