Family friend of New Mexico suspects is the tipster who relayed starvation message to police

One of the women in the New Mexico compound reached out to a family friend with a desperate message for help...

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 10:30 AM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 10:30 AM

One of the women in the New Mexico compound reached out to a family friend with a desperate message for help, expressing danger of starvation.

Abdur-Rashid Al-Amin, an Islamic counselor in Georgia, said that message sent to him was the tip authorities used to raid the compound in rural New Mexico on August 3.

Continents and regions

Misc people

New Mexico

North America

Siraj Wahhaj

Southwestern United States

Subhannah Wahhaj

The Americas

United States

Hujrah Wahhaj

Jany Leveille

Families and children

Family life

Society

Amin told CNN he received a friend request on Facebook around July 31 from Subhannah Wahhaj, one of the women who was found in the compound and subsequently charged with child abuse.

When he accepted her Facebook request, she requested confidentiality and then cash.

"I am desperately in need of $400 in order to save myself from starvation," according to the message she sent Amin. "Again, I wouldn't ask if I truly didn't need it."

Since 2009, Amin had been a friend of the Wahhaj family. Amin said he had previously counseled several of the adults found at the New Mexico compound, including Subhannah Wahhaj, her husband Lucas Morten, her brother Siraj Wahhaj and Siraj Wahhaj's partner, Jany Leveille.

He said he also knew that members of her family, including Siraj and her sister Hujrah, had cut ties with their Georgia friends and families, right around the time Siraj's young son, Abdul-Ghani had disappeared.

"I was trying to ascertain [Abdul-Ghani's] location," Amin said about their exchange. The messages were entered into evidence in court this week.

Subhannah Wahhaj's request also said: "The money is to fight starvation."

In response to her request, Amin said he told her, "I'm not going to just send that money to someone and take it away from my family if I'm not even sure it's actually you."

So, he said, he started asking questions to get their location.

During their exchange, she gave him an address of a gas station in New Mexico.

After obtaining that information, Amin said he reached out to her father, Imam Siraj Wahhaj in New York, and connected with the Clayton County Police. The information was relayed to authorities in New Mexico, he said. The compound was searched on August 3.

A family member of the imam confirmed to CNN that Amin contacted the family. Clayton County Police had previously discussed a message from the compound, but have declined to identify its source.

Subhannah Wahhaj had also requested several items that Amin said he was gathering and preparing to send, but the raid of the compound occurred before the items could be sent.

When he saw the news from New Mexico about the 11 children found in filthy conditions, Amin said he was shocked.

"It was very disturbing, I was very upset. I was angry, sad, and then overjoyed that the children were pulled out of those conditions," he said.

The five adults found in the compound -- Subhannah Wahhaj, Siraj Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Jany Leveille, and Lucas Morten -- each face 11 counts of child abuse. They have pleaded not guilty.

Leveille is now in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. She overstayed a nonimmigrant visitor visa for more than 20 years, according to ICE. She is originally from Haiti.

Abdul-Ghani, the boy allegedly abducted by his father, was not among the 11 children found in the compound. The remains of a young boy were found in a tunnel at the compound, but have not yet been identified. One of the surviving children told an FBI investigator that Abdul-Ghani had died during a religious ritual.

Although Amin had been a friend and counselor to members of the Wahhaj family, he said he felt compelled to speak out.

"All the adults at the compound are complicit in what happened, and not getting Abdul-Ghani medical attention," Amin said.

"Allah says stand out firmly as a witness against injustice even against family and friends. Family and friends has nothing to do with it. It's about the welfare of the children."

Huntsville/Redstone
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 50°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 53°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 49°
Decatur
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 49°
Fort Payne
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 48°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 776337

Reported Deaths: 11436
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby873161492
Davidson81556869
Knox46018581
Hamilton40396462
Rutherford38385382
Williamson25282203
Sumner21383315
Montgomery17414213
Out of TN1695094
Wilson16423210
Unassigned15587125
Sullivan14346274
Blount14066181
Bradley12918139
Washington12774234
Maury12220163
Sevier12038163
Putnam10603169
Madison10102228
Robertson8962121
Hamblen8023164
Anderson7991157
Greene7294145
Tipton6948103
Coffee6320115
Dickson6228106
Gibson6188141
Cumberland6106121
Carter5974152
McMinn593191
Roane590796
Bedford5797120
Loudon569665
Jefferson5659119
Lawrence556883
Monroe533190
Warren531475
Hawkins525194
Dyer5237101
Franklin473685
Fayette466971
Obion436595
Rhea415173
Lincoln414062
Cocke399093
Cheatham391244
Marshall391156
Campbell380459
Weakley378959
Giles373896
Henderson361973
Carroll348981
Hardeman338564
White338266
Macon336573
Hardin331063
Lauderdale309242
Henry300975
Marion294144
Scott287644
Wayne287130
Overton284857
Claiborne279768
McNairy267853
DeKalb265549
Hickman265141
Haywood264860
Smith256036
Grainger243146
Trousdale239022
Morgan229738
Fentress229344
Johnson216338
Chester201748
Bledsoe200210
Crockett197247
Unicoi180547
Polk176522
Cannon175029
Union172233
Grundy168630
Lake167826
Sequatchie156027
Decatur153937
Humphreys153721
Benton151039
Lewis147025
Meigs126621
Jackson125234
Stewart123624
Clay107130
Perry103327
Houston102932
Moore94416
Van Buren79520
Pickett74623
Hancock49512

Community Events