LOS ANGELES - Over 220 missing children were located throughout the US during a 10-week national operation dubbed ‘Operation We Will Find You’.
The U.S. Marshals Service along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and state and local agencies in 16 federal districts across the U.S. participated in the operation which resulted in the recovery or safe location of 225 missing children, the US Marshals announced.
Many of the children include runaways and those abducted by noncustodial persons.
During the operation, officials recovered 169 children and safely located 56.
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.
Data released shows that 86% of the children were endangered runaways, 9% were family abductions, and 5% were considered otherwise missing.
Credit: Operation We Will Find You: U.S. Marshals Service
The youngest child recovered was only six-months-old.
Forty-two children were found outside of the city they went missing, and ten children were found outside in Mexico. The US Marshals also arrested a ‘Top 15 Most Wanted’ couple who fled to Mexico from Washington state with their five children.
taken into hiding.
Meanwhile, 13 missing children were located in the Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County areas from March 1 to May 15, 2023, officials said.
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.
Anyone with information about missing/endangered children should contact their local police department and/or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost.