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OMI Update on Amalia Remains

Positive ID made

UPDATE 8/16/18:

“The Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) has positively identified the remains found earlier this month at the compound near Amalia, N.M., in northern Taos County as belonging to Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

Our thoughts and prayers go to Wahhaj’s family. We certainly understand the heartbreak this news will cause and want to stress our commitment to investigating this death to serve the living.

The condition of the body made identification difficult, and investigators had to use several means to finally make a positive identification.

There is no update at this time on cause or manner of death. The Taos County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in this case and questions regarding the investigation should be directed to the sheriff’s office.” – Alex Sanchez, Public Information Officer for The University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center

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“The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) continues to work to identify the human remains found at the Amalia complex near Taos. The remains are in a state of decomposition that has made identification challenging. Investigators often try to compare remains to radiologic images, fingerprints, DNA or other identification materials. At this time, investigators are using all known methods to make an identification, but this will not be a quick process. If we must rely on DNA results, identification could take many weeks.

While we certainly understand the urgency in identifying the remains, our mission at OMI is always to investigate deaths to serve the living. We must take the time needed to ensure all aspects of the investigation, including identification and determination of cause and manner of death, are handled properly. We appreciate the public’s patience as we proceed with a thorough investigation.”

- Kurt Nolte, chief medical investigator, Office of the Medical Investigator.

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