The U.S. Marshals Service announced it rescued another 25 missing and endangered children from Ohio.
“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,” said Darby Kirby, Chief of the Missing Child Unit. “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.”
The U.S. Marshals Service recently tracked down 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida in late August through “Operation Safety Net,” an initiative that is ongoing, according to published reports.
“Operation Not Forgotten” resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 children and the arrest of nine criminal associates. Investigators also cleared 26 arrest warrants and filed additional charges for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping, registered sex offender violations, drugs and weapons possession and custodial interference.
The children found in Ohio were the ages of 13 and 18, WOIO-TV reported.
“These are kids that have been abused, neglected,” said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott. “Some involved in human trafficking. Sometimes, the situations they — they go to, believe it or not, may be better than the situations they left from. We’ve had some cases where the mother and/or father, or both, may have been prostituting their own child.”
A number of these children have gone to the hospital after being recovered.
“I’ll tell you this, it will be something we’ll be doing every year. This is our first time we have done this, it’s been uncharted territory for us, but we’ve had great success.”
Editor’s note: If you suspect children in your neighborhood could be in jeopardy or know of a missing child, call in tips to the U.S. Marshals tip line at 1-866-492-6833.