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Boy found dead at New Mexico compound died during ritual to rid his body of demons, FBI agent says

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 14/08/2018

© Brian Skoloff / AP Two of the children found living in squalor at a New Mexico compound said a young boy, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, died during a ritual intended to rid his body of demons, an FBI agent testified Monday.

Agent Travis Taylor said in a pretrial hearing that he spoke to a 15-year-old boy, only identified as FL, and a 13-year-old boy, identified as JL, who had both been removed from the compound. Taylor said he was told Abdul-ghani’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, was the one who carried out the rituals, which involved him reading two verses from the Quran while placing his hand on the boy’s forehead.

Wahhaj’s wife, Jany Leveille, had received a message from God months earlier that Abdul-ghani — who was not her biological son — would be resurrected as Jesus once the demons were removed from his body, and that he would then instruct the family which “corrupt institutions” to get rid of, Taylor said the two boys told him. These institutions included the education system, law enforcement and government, the agent said.

The agent said he was told Wahhaj did nothing more than read and place his hand on the boy during the rituals, but the boy would foam at the mouth, choke and pass out. Hakima Ramzi, the mother of Abdul-ghani, has told CNN that the boy suffered from seizures and needed medication.

Wahhaj and Leveille were two of five adults who were arrested after police raided the compound on Aug. 3. Eleven children were removed from the site, where a shooting range and multiple firearms were discovered during the raid. The remains of a young boy, who was not identified by authorities, was discovered in a tunnel in the compound.

The FBI agent said the boys told him Wahhaj had been providing tactical training, which included moving and shooting, speed reloads and room clearing, to several people at the compound.

A prosecutor asserted earlier in the hearing, which lasted several hours, that Wahhaj had taken an unusual number of gun-training courses in Atlanta before they moved to New Mexico.

Prosecutors claimed last week that Wahhaj had been training the children at the compound to carry out school shootings. Wahhaj’s attorney told CNN he hasn’t seen any evidence that suggests that was the case.

The defendants at Monday’s hearing argued that the firearms found at the compound are all common weapons that can be purchased at various retailers, and that their clients were being unfairly portrayed as dangerous by prosecutors.

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