See the Message That Led to the Rescue of 11 Children Held By Muslim Extremists
The children are aged between one and 15. Some are siblings and some are cousins.
They had been held underground at a ramshackle compound in Alamia, New Mexico, for months.
The FBI was monitoring the site for two months but never searched it because they did not have an arrest warrant, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said on Monday.
On Friday, however, the sheriff's office intercepted a message that was written either by one of the children or by one of their mothers which read: 'We are starving and we need food and water.'
The sheriff enlisted a special forces team to spearhead the raid because he knew the men inside were heavily armed. Law enforcement worried that the raid would end in bloodshed if they didn't deploy tactfully and quickly.
Though the children were alive, many were so malnourished that their ribs were showing. Sheriff Hogrefe described the conditions as the saddest he's seen in 30 years on the job.