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Hundreds of Missing Children Found in Multi-State Operation

The United States Marshals Service (USMS), with the help of state and local agencies, led a 10-week multi-state operation that helped recover or safely locate 225 missing children.

The missing children included runaways and those abducted by non-custodial persons, according to a U.S. Marshals Service press release.

Operation We Will Find You’ resulted in the recovery of 169 children and the safe location of 56 children.

From the U.S. Marshals Service:

With technical assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Operation We Will Find You resulted in the recovery of 169 children and the safe location of 56 children. During the operation, the U.S. Marshals Service referred 28 cases to law enforcement agencies for further investigation of crimes such as drugs and weapons, sex trafficking, and sex offender violations. Law enforcement reported allegations of trafficking in over 40 cases the U.S. Marshals Service assisted with. Of the cases closed, 86% were endangered runaways, nearly 9% were family abductions, and 5% were considered otherwise missing. The youngest child recovered was six months old.  Additionally, of the missing children recovered, 62 percent were recovered within seven days of the U.S. Marshals Service assisting with the case.

“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to the important mission of protecting the American people, especially our most vulnerable population – our children,” said Ronald Davis, Director of the Marshals Service. “The results of this operation underscore that commitment, but also highlight the necessity of these critical efforts. Our continued success can only be achieved through our collaboration with state and local law enforcement agencies, and partnership with NCMEC. Together, the USMS and NCMEC have recovered over 3,100 missing children since the passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in 2015.”

Operation We Will Find You is a great example of how the U.S. Marshals Service continues to prioritize child protection,” said NCMEC President & CEO Michelle DeLaune. “NCMEC is proud of our long-standing partnership with the USMS and commends them and the participating state and local agencies who helped recover the 225 endangered missing children.”

42 of the children were found outside the city they went missing.

Operation We Will Find You took place in these locations: eastern Virginia; Washington D.C.; Maryland; Massachusetts; South Carolina; New Orleans; San Antonio; Detroit; Yakima, Washington; Orlando, Florida; Los Angeles; northern Ohio; Guam; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Fox News reported:

The US Marshals also arrested a ‘Top 15 Most Wanted’ couple who fled to Mexico from Washington state with their five children, who they also took into hiding.

According to US Marshals, ‘Operation We Will Find You’ is the first nationwide missing child operation focused on geographical areas with high clusters of critically missing children.

The agency shared that the children were “considered some of the most challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions.”

The US Marshals handed 28 cases to law enforcement for further investigation into crimes that included drugs, weapons, sex trafficking and sex offender violations, according to a statement from the US Marshals. Law enforcement reported allegations of trafficking in over 40 of the cases.


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