Man Kidnapped Son to Perform Exorcism on Him in New Mexico Desert Compound, Boy's Mother Says

A man arrested on suspicion of child abduction at a ramshackle compound in a New Mexico desert wanted to perform an exorcism on his son, who had been reported missing months before.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, was arrested along with four other adults after a raid by the Taos County Sheriff's Office on Friday.

Authorities had been led to the compound after Wahhaj's four-year-old son—Abdul Ghani Wahhaj—was reported missing by his mother.

At the compound, police found 11 children being kept in "filthy" conditions without food or water.

The children "looked like third-world country refugees," Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told ABC News.

"I've been a cop for 30 years. I've never seen anything like this. Unbelievable," he said. "These children were hungry, they were thirsty, they were filthy."

According to an arrest affidavit filed Monday and obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the boy's mother told police that Wahhaj believed his son was "possessed by the devil" and planned to perform an exorcism.

She said he had taken the boy and traveled west in December.

The 11 children found at the compound have been turned over to protective services, but the boy has yet to be found.

The boy has neurological symptoms from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, meaning he can't walk and has frequent seizures. According to his mother, he was also denied crucial medication by Wahhaj.

The five adults arrested at the compound—situated in Amalia near the state's border with Colorado—each face 11 charges relating to the "neglect and abuse of the children involved."

Two armed men—Wahhaj and Lucas Morton, 40—were arrested at the scene, as well as three women believed to be the children's mothers, according to Taos Sheriff's Office.

The women have been identified as Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35.

Hogrefe said that police had had to wait for a warrant before raiding the compound, as the occupants were believed to be "most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief."

Police said they acted on a tip off, most likely from someone in the compound, pleading for food and water.

In a statement, police said Wahhaj was "heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, and four loaded pistols," and initally refused to follow verbal orders.

"Many more rounds of ammo were found in the makeshift compound that consists of a small travel trailer buried in the ground covered by plastic with no water, plumbing or electricity."

Wahhaj was also subject to an arrest warrant relating to the alleged kidnapping of his son.

The first court appearances for those arrested will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, magistrate's court officials told CNN.

Man Kidnapped Son to Perform Exorcism on Him in New Mexico Desert Compound, Boy's Mother Says | U.S.