U.S. Marshals rescue 27 missing children in Va. during ‘Operation Find Our Children’
UPDATED 10:05 AM PT – Monday, November 2, 2020
The U.S. Marshals Service released a statement Friday noting they have recovered 27 missing and exploited children in Virginia as a result of what they called ‘Operation Find Our Children.’
Many of the underage individuals were found in the state’s larger populated cities, while seven were found in the state’s more rural communities of Roanoke and Abingdon.
Operation Find Our Children resulted in the recovery of 27 previously missing children throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia: https://t.co/L4c8JN81dL
— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) November 2, 2020
More than 60 law enforcement investigators worked with more than 50 employees from the Virginia Department of Social Services, a number of medical professionals and experts with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to carry the mission out.
The actual recoveries took place over the course of five days. In addition to the 27 who were rescued, six reportedly missing children were found safe in the custody of their legal guardian.
The Department of Justice has released a statement saying this latest rescue mission brings the total number of endangered and missing children recovered by the U.S. Marshals Service this year to more than 440.
After a similar operation in Ohio, which resulted in the recovery of 45 children and 177 arrests, officials said they are looking at everything. This includes online attacks.
“Our message is quite clear: if you are using the internet to try and exploit, take advantage of underage individuals, we want it to be in the back of your head that you may be talking to one of us and hopefully you will be talking to one of us,” stated Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.
Moving forward, the Department of Justice said they are dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable children and will continue to be vigilant in tackling the issue of human trafficking.