200 Missing Children Recovered by U.S Marshals during Major Operation

200 Missing Children Recovered by U.S Marshals during Major Operation

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) has recovered 200 children who had gone missing across the country.

The kids were found during a major six-week national sting that ended last week dubbed “Operation We Will Find You 2.”

The second-of-its-kind operation was conducted in seven federal judicial districts and geographic locations across the U.S. from May 20 to June 24.

USMS agents focused on areas with an increased number of critically missing children.

In a press release, the USMS said the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (USMEC) assisted in the operation.

The operation led to the recovery and removal of 123 children from dangerous situations such as child sex trafficking and kidnapping.

Another 77 missing children were located and found in safe locations.

Out of the 200 children, 173 were endangered runaways, 25 were considered missing, a family member abducted one, and one was a non-family abduction.

Additionally, 14 of the recovered children were located outside the city where they were reported missing.

The youngest to be recovered was just 5 months old.

About 57% of the missing children were recovered within seven days of the USMS helping out with the cases.

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said:

“There are no words to describe the terror felt by missing children, their families, and their communities.

“I am grateful to the dedicated professionals of the U.S. Marshals Service and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who worked to find 200 critically missing children during this six-week operation, and who work every day to keep children safe.”

The operation was executed in several locations, including:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • New York City

U.S. Marshals worked with federal, state, and local law enforcement, NCMEC, the Department of Children and Family Services, and other agencies to locate the missing children.

Many of the children were considered to be in challenging recovery cases.

A large number of the children were rescued from situations where they had been victims of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, and physical abuse.

Many of the kids were suffering from medical or mental health conditions.

For instance, on June 13, USMS recovered a 16-year-old girl who was reported missing from her home in Edwardsburg, Michigan, by her legal guardian on Jan. 11, 2024.

An investigation determined the child was likely being controlled and abused by an adult man.

The man had reportedly shared photos of cash and firearms on his social media page.

In one photo, USMS said, an adult man was pointing a handgun with an extended magazine at the missing child.

During the rescue, USMS went to arrest the man at an apartment in Hammond, Indiana.

However, during the raid, he jumped out of a window and attempted to flee.

Thankfully, the suspect was ultimately apprehended and arrested.

The child was located inside the apartment before being released to child protective services.

In another instance, a 15-year-old girl was reported missing by her guardian on May 13.

An investigation discovered the child had become a victim of human trafficking in the Miami-Dade, Florida area.

On June 7, USMS and members of the Miami Police Department located the girl in an apartment complex.

She was recovered and interviewed by the Florida State Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking team before being returned to the Department of Child and Family Services.

“One of the most sacred missions of U.S. Marshals Service is locating and recovering our nation’s critically missing children,” USMS Director Ronald L. Davis said.

“This is one of our top priorities as there remain thousands of children still missing and at risk.”