Child abuse charges dismissed in New Mexico desert compound case

UPDATE Father Partner Plead Not Guilty in Compound Death Charges Dismissed Against 3 Others

Child abuse charges against three of five adults who lived at a New Mexico compound where a child was found dead were dismissed Wednesday, court documents show.

During a separate hearing Wednesday, Judge Jeff McElroy dismissed the same charges against fellow defendants, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille.

Judge Emilio Chavez said that he had no choice but to release the three defendants, Lucas Morton, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah A. Wahhaj, because the office of District Attorney Donald Gallegos failed to schedule a court hearing to prove they had probable cause for their arrest within 10 days, as state rules stipulate, according to court representatives and defense lawyers.

Lucas Allen Morton, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35, were released from jail after the ruling, while two others, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, and his wife, Jany Leveille, 35, remain held on additional charges filed August 24 in the death of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. Prosecutors said that they had expected the suspects to have been released, which would have given them more time to bring charges.

Meanwhile, authorities have filed charges against the dead boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and his partner, Jany Leveille. But the charges against them on Friday in connection with the death of a missing 3-year-old boy, remain.

The child's badly decomposed remains were found this month inside a tunnel at the high-desert compound near the Colorado state line.

Wahhaj and Leveille could be held for up to five days pending a hearing on whether they can be held without bond pending trial.

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Members of the group were alleged to have conducted weapons training with the children with the aim of carrying out acts of terror and were charged with child abuse.

Authorities say Wahhaj and Leveille denied the boy proper medicine and health care as he died in December 2017 during a religious ritual aimed at casting out demonic spirits.

The boy's mother initially reported him missing past year from Jonesboro, Georgia, after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and didn't return.

The Taos County Sheriff's Office confirmed the three were allowed to leave jail late Wednesday afternoon.

Federal immigration authorities say Leveille, a native of Haiti, has been in the United States unlawfully for 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa.

"But every judge in New Mexico takes seriously their responsibility to establish conditions of pretrial release for criminal defendants that will protect public safety and assure a defendant's return to court for future proceedings".

Investigators found a "handwritten document titled 'Phases of a Terrorist Attack, '" CNN reported - along with clues that the "extremist Muslims" had allegedly planned an attack on a hospital.

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