U.S. Marshals recovered 27 missing children across Virginia as part of a five-day operation, the Department of Justice announced Friday.
The operation called, ‘Operation Find Our Children’, also confirmed the location of six additional children previously reported as missing but subsequently discovered by the U.S. Marshals Service as being in the custody of their legal guardian.
Operation Find Our Children consisted of:
U.S. Marshals from the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
Members of the U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and special agents
More than 60 police officers and detectives from numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
“The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable children in our society and ‘Operation Find Our Children’ does just that,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement. “While this Virginia operation is the most recent recovery of endangered and missing children led by the U.S. Marshals Service this year, we have also recovered more than 440 kids in Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana and other states. Because of this initiative, the recovered children are now out of harm’s way.”
The development follows the U.S. Marshals Service announcing Monday that 45 missing children were recovered in Ohio in October as part of an anti-human trafficking effort labeled “Operation Autumn Hope.”
During the operation, 45 missing children were recovered and 169 arrests were made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and U.S. Marshals in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Twenty children were also located per the request of law enforcement to ensure the child’s well-being. The U.S. Marshals office says during one of the missing child recoveries, a loaded gun was recovered. The 15-year-old male juvenile had two warrants and is suspected in multiple shootings and a homicide.
“My thanks to all personnel who have stepped up for this operation,” Peter Tobin, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said in a statement at the time. “These are the same personnel who hunt down violent fugitives every day. I’m incredibly proud of them and pleased that they were able to apply those same skills to finding missing children. I know Operation Autumn Hope has made a difference in a lot of young lives.”
In September, the U.S. Marshals-led “Operation Safety Net,” resulted in the recovery of 35 children ages 13 to 18 in Northeast Ohio.
The U.S. Marshals confirmed in August that 39 minors have been recovered in Georgia cities, Atlanta and Macon, as part of “Operation Not Forgotten.”
“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars. But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child,” Darby Kirby, Chief of the U.S. Marshals Missing Child Unit, said in a statement at the time. “It’s hard to put into words what we feel when we rescue a missing child, but I can tell you that this operation has impacted every single one of us out here. We are working to protect them and get them the help they need.”