Authorities confirm body found on NM compound that of missing Clayton County boy

But because the couple was still married and there was no formal custody arrangement at issue at that date, officers had no legal authority to take the child from his father.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Investigators confirmed a 3-year-old Clayton County boy died on a compound in New Mexico.

A medical examiner confirmed the remains found on a compound in Taos County, New Mexico were that of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the boy’s father, was charged after authorities discovered 11 children and three women living in horrible conditions inside the compound. Authorities found Abdul-ghani’s remains a few days later.

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The boy's mother reported him missing in December.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne received a text message from the boy’s grandfather, from Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who said he was on a plane to New Mexico.

The imam told Winne that nine of the 11 children rescued from the compound are his grandchildren.

“I want to meet my grandchildren. First, I’m going to make sure they’re OK,” Wahhaj told Winne over the weekend.

Winne uncovered new details about what happened to the boy before his father took him from Georgia.

East Point police spokesperson Detective Ebony Johnson said the department has determined East Point officers responded to the apartment of Hujrah Wahhaj on Dec. 3, 2017, and met with Hakima Ramzi, who was looking for her child, Abdul-ghani.

Johnson said officers located the child’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the brother of Hujrah, at the apartment, and arranged for Ramzi to see both him and Abdul-ghani.

But because the couple was still married and there was no formal custody arrangement at issue at that date, officers had no legal authority to take the child from his father.

“They said it’s just an issue with family. Between me and him,” Ramzi told Winne in an interview last week.

Johnson said the officers “followed all proper procedures and laws concerning the entire situation.”

“The scenario seems like law enforcement followed all proper procedures when you have a couple that’s married. They both have equal custody to the child,” attorney Leslie Gresham said.

Gresham told us virtually her entire law practice is focused on the best interest of children—including custody matters.

“It breaks my heart. I wish there was some way that the court could’ve gotten involved sooner,” Gresham said.

Records indicate Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj and others have pleaded not guilty to child-abuse charges -- involving children other than Abdul-ghani.