Nationwide, multi-agency operation recovers 200 critically missing children, federal authorities say

The United States Marshals Service led a six-week nationwide operation that resulted in 200 critically missing children being found – the youngest being a 5-month-old, according to the US Department of Justice.

The children included endangered runaways and those abducted by parents who didn’t have custody, a news release from the Justice Department said. They were rescued from May 20 to June 24 during a nationwide effort called Operation We Will Find You 2. A critically missing child is one who is at an increased risk of danger if they are not found as soon as possible.

Federal, state and local agencies in seven federal judicial districts and locations across the United States along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children participated in recovering the children, 123 of whom were rescued “from dangerous situations,” according to officials.

“These missing 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 Justice Department release states.

The coast-to-coast operation took place in locations including Portland and Eugene, Oregon; several counties in South Florida; New York City; and parts of Michigan.

“Of the 200 children found, 173 were endangered runaways, 25 were considered otherwise missing, one was a family abduction, and one was a non-family abduction,” according to the release.

Fourteen of the children were located outside the city where they went missing and 57% of those rescued were found within a week of the US Marshals Service assisting with their case, according to the Justice Department.

“One of the most sacred missions of US Marshals Service is locating and recovering our nation’s critically missing children,” said Marshals Service Director Ronald L. Davis in the release. “This is one of our top priorities as there remain thousands of children still missing and at risk.”

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