Eleven children were rescued from what authorities describe as a “filthy trailer” in rural New Mexico, following an armed standoff with one of two men who are now in custody.
Eight members of the Taos County Sheriff’s office surrounded the compound while looking for a missing three-year-old kidnapped from Georgia. While they did not find the missing child, authorities found 11 other children -- aged one to 15 -- living in a compound, quote, "surrounded by tires and an earthen berm.”
One man, Lucas Morten, was arrested on suspicion of harboring a fugitive, while the other, Siraj Wahhaj, was charged with child abduction, according to CBS News. The County Sheriff, Jerry Hogrefe, told ABC News the most heartbreaking scene was when, “the team located a total of five adults and 11 children that looked like third-world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing."
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While no was injured during the rescue operation, it took hours, with Wahhaj reportedly holing up in the compound with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle until before later surrendering without incident.
According to the sheriff’s press release, three women thought to be the children’s mothers were also detained, with ABC News reporting that they have not been charged.
The rescued children were placed in the care of the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, with the FBI and authorities in Georgia continuing the investigation into the whereabouts of the missing three-year-old child.