Three of the defendants in a high-profile child-abuse case in New Mexico have been released from jail after a judge dismissed the charges against them. Lucas Morton, Hujrah Wahhaj, and Subhannah A. Wahhaj were arrested this month at a makeshift compound where 11 children were found starving and living in filth, and a 3-year-old boy was later discovered dead. Judge Emilio Chavez said Wednesday that prosecutors had failed to schedule a court hearing to establish they had probable cause to charge the three defendants with child neglect within the 10-day timeframe required by law, leaving him no choice but to drop the charges. Child-abuse charges were also reportedly dropped against two other defendants, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille, but they remain in custody on other, more serious charges. Leveille and Wahhaj are charged with child abuse resulting in death after 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj’s son, was found dead at the compound. Prosecutors say Wahhaj and Leveille performed religious rituals on the boy and deprived him of critical medical care even when they witnessed his health rapidly deteriorating. They pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.
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