U.S. Marshals announce ‘Operation We Will Find You’ located 225 missing children

A nationwide operation conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has rescued 225 endangered missing children, including runaways and kidnap victims.

Lasting 10 weeks, “Operation We Will Find You” led to “the recovery of 169 children and the safe location of 56 children,” according to a press release from the USMS.

“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,” the press release reads.

“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,” it continues.

Included with the press release was a statement from Ronald Davis, the director of the Marshals Service.

“The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to the important mission of protecting the American people, especially our most vulnerable population – our children. The results of this operation underscore that commitment, but also highlight the necessity of these critical efforts,” he said.

“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,” he added.

NCMEC is short for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The group worked with the USMS to find the missing children.

“Operation We Will Find You is a great example of how the U.S. Marshals Service continues to prioritize child protection. 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,” NCMEC president & CEO Michelle DeLaune said in her own statement.

The operation was reportedly conducted in only the following 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.

“During the operation, 42 children were found outside the city where they went missing, and 10 children were found outside of the United States in Mexico. In addition, the USMS arrested a Top 15 Most Wanted couple who fled to Mexico from Washington state with their five children, who they had taken into hiding,” USMS’ press release notes.

Over in Massachusetts, station WBTS investigators reportedly rode along as the USMS completed its work there.

“U.S. Deputy Marshal Sean Bianchi made his way through the streets of Boston, with case files by his side, on a critical mission to find endangered children who are missing and in need of help,” the station reported on Wednesday.

At one point, Bianchi talked a missing 15-year-old girl they’d found off a bus.

“She’s wandering around Dorchester getting on the bus to go to another address that she wouldn’t give us. She’s 15 years old, she’s had some concerning police reports in the past where you know she may be involved with some human trafficking activity,” he told the station.

WBTS noted that the girl was “one of the estimated 30,000 children missing across the country. They said many of these kids have run away from foster care, from home or have been kidnapped or lured away.”

According to U.S. Marshal Brian Kyes, the missing children are oftentimes young girls who’re suffering from some sort of medical or emotional issue.

“We want to intercept them before they stumble off and really get lost in a situation where there’s no coming back. It’s our job really to work with the locals and really try to locate them and certainly bring them to safety,” he told the station.

The missing 15-year-old’s mother was ecstatic to have her daughter back.

“I started crying immediately. I think it was just gratitude. It’s like, ‘OK, she’s alive, she’s alive. We found her and now we can do whatever comes next,'” she told WBTS.

Meanwhile, roughly a mile away, an apartment was searched for two other missing girls who’d been gone for weeks.

“Investigators believe one was abused and trafficked. The woman who lived there said the girls know her daughter and came to her home when she wasn’t there. They were found days later living in squalor. One in the living room of the apartment, another hiding in a bedroom closet,” WBTS notes.

Over in Randolph, another Massachusetts town, a search for a missing 16-year-old girl turned up empty. But the USMS did turn up six other missing children, including a baby, who’d reportedly been abused by their parents and kidnapped.


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