Officials Say Identity Of Child Expected Today, Attorney General Threatens UNM Over Sports Cut Move

Aug 9, 2018

Officials Say Identity Of Deceased Child Is Expected Today Associated Press

Sheriff's officials expect to learn from medical examiners the identity today of a child whose remains were found at the site of a New Mexico compound that authorities raided last week in search of a missing boy.

A search Monday led authorities to discover the remains of an unidentified young boy at the compound in Amalia, where three days earlier the local sheriff said 11 hungry children were found living in filth.

The child’s remains were sent to the state Office of the Medical Investigator to be identified. An OMI spokeswoman and a sheriff's spokesman said they expected the identification by today.

Authorities say the missing boy, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, was taken from Jonesboro, Georgia, by his father in December.

Five adults, including the father of the missing boy, were arrested after an initial search at the compound Friday.

Prosecutors say in court documents that the father was training children at the compound to commit school shootings.

But a defense attorney is questioning those accusations.

Aleks Kostich of the Taos County Public Defender's Office said Wednesday the allegations by prosecutors against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj lacked additional explanation, except to say the information came from the foster parent of a child removed from the compound last week.

Kostich says he believes prosecutors are not certain about the credibility of the source.

Fundraising Begins In Possible Gary Johnson Run For Senate- Associated Press

Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is inching closer to a possible run for U.S. Senate in New Mexico as his consultant formed an independent political committee.

Ron Nielson said Thursday that the Elect Liberty PAC has begun raising money in support of a likely campaign for Senate by Johnson. Johnson has relied on Nielson as a consultant since his first successful campaign for governor of New Mexico in 1994.

The Libertarian Party has offered Johnson its nomination to run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich, a construction contractor and first-time political candidate.

Johnson also is stepping down from his post as honorary chairman of Our America Initiative that has pushed to open up presidential debates and ballot access in general to third-party and independent candidates.

Navajo Nation Official Pleads Not Guilty To $6M Theft Charge- Associated Press

A Navajo Nation official has been accused of unlawfully transferring $6 million of Ramah Navajo Chapter funds to different investing companies without proper authorization.

Tribal officials say Ramah Navajo Chapter President David Jose was arraigned Monday on three counts of theft. He pleaded not guilty.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Prosecutors say one of the investment companies filed for bankruptcy less than a year after Jose made a $1 million transfer to the company.

The Navajo Nation Department of Justice is seeking to recover those funds in a bankruptcy proceeding.

The Ramah Chapter is located in New Mexico and is part of the Navajo Nation.

Attorney General Threatens UNM Over Sports Cut Move- Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says he will take the University of New Mexico to court unless its board of regents reconsiders a decision to eliminate four sports.

Balderas announced Thursday the university has 15 days to respond to his office's opinion that the school violated New Mexico's open meetings laws when it moved to cut men's soccer, men's and women's skiing and women's beach volleyball.

Balderas told reporters the university's board didn't properly give the public notice that it would be discussing the cuts and should take up the whole process again with "full transparency."

The regents voted unanimously July 19 to eliminate men's soccer, men's and women's skiing and women's beach volleyball and to cut diving from the women's swimming and diving program and dramatically reduce the men's track and field roster.

Coach Accused Of Sexual Misconduct With Teen Accepts Plea- Eastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

A former eastern New Mexico assistant track coach accused of sexual misconduct with a student will have to register as a sex offender after entering a plea agreement.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports Scott Fly pleaded no contest to criminal sexual communication with a child, a fourth degree-felony, on Tuesday.

Under the plea agreement, Fly will receive a deferred sentence of 18 months of probation, register as a sex offender for 10 years and pay various court fees.

Deputy District Attorney Jake Boazman says the 24-year-old was arrested last year after authorities learned that he had sent "lewd and obscene" images to a 14-year-old Clovis Christian School student.

Fly stopped working at the school after his contract ended in mid-2017.

The girl has relocated out of state with her family.

New Mexico Gov Hopefuls Vow To Help Trinity Test DescendantsAssociated Press

New Mexico's Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates say they want descendants of families who lived through the Trinity Test to receive compensation from the U.S. government.

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rep. Steve Pearce, who currently both serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, said this week they that as governor, they would continue to advocate for descendants to be included in a federal law that compensated families near nuclear test sites.

Descendants say the World War II-era Trinity Test caused generations of southern New Mexico families to suffer from rare cancers and economic hardship.

Residents did not learn that the test had involved an atomic weapon until the U.S. dropped bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war ended.

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.

Board Votes To Limit Fiesta De Santa Fe PresentationsAssociated Press

The Santa Fe school board voted on Tuesday to limit the Fiesta Council's annual visits to public schools in response to complaints about the way local history is depicted during the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe.

Organizers of the reenactment of a 17th-century Spanish conquistador reclaiming Santa Fe from Native Americans recently issued an apology to Pueblo Indians after ending the event.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the new policy allows people dressed as conquistadors, Franciscan missionaries and other members of the Fiesta Court to visit only classes that study New Mexico history.

The school district also will maintain an "opt-out" option for students who do not wish to attend Fiesta events in school. Another change does away with a practice that allowed Fiesta Council members to choose students to portray Little La Reina and Little Don Diego de Vargas.

2 Eastern New Mexico Counties Ease Fire RestrictionsEastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

Two eastern New Mexico counties are lifting fire restrictions as summer storms have helped ease some extreme drought conditions in the state.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports Curry County commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to lift a burn ban in effect since March following a recommendation from the county's fire and safety director.

And the Roosevelt County Commission unanimously voted to rescind the burn ban in the unincorporated areas of the county that had been in place since mid-April.

Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols says the burn ban, drought conditions on the eastern side of the Roosevelt County have improved.

Nuckols said weather forecasts show temperatures under 90 degrees and an increase in humidity across the county, both of which will decrease fire danger.