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
Southwestern United States
Families and children
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."