It was announced today by the US Department of Justice that a concerted, multi-agency effort culminated of the location and rescue of 27 missing children.
The task force consisted of deputies from the US Marshals' office from both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, as well as others from the US Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. In addition, more than 60 law enforcement agents at the federal, state and local levels participated in what was dubbed "Operation Find Our Children."
Fifty more civilians participated, the group consisting of social workers, medical professionals and other experts from agencies such as the Virginia Department of Social Services and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (or NCMEC), according to the Justice Department's website.
Six other children reported as missing also had their locations verified, and it turned out that they were with their legal guardians at the time.
On Sept. 7, 8 other children were rescued by this operation, which is by no means over and is considered to be an ongoing effort.
Other similar operations are in full force all across the country, including one which spectacularly led to the rescue of over 100 victims and 177 arrests of alleged perpetrators in the state of Ohio.
Nick Proffitt, one of the US Marshals involved in the successful operation, commented:
"I can think of no more critical or satisfying mission for a law enforcement officer, than rescuing an endangered child. This operation brought together a formidable team that was, and is, determined to come to the aid of our youth and bring to justice those among us that choose to prey on these vulnerable children.
"I am proud of the Deputy Marshals in the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and their partners for the work they accomplished this week – and the results speak for themselves; these 27 children are safe once again. I am deeply humbled and highly honored that our team in Eastern Virginia is a continuing part of this critical Marshals Service mission. We want the missing children across this great nation to know the US Marshals Service will never stop looking for you, we will find you."
Thomas Foster, another Marshal, followed up, saying:
"The US Marshals Service has a legendary history of finding fugitives and bringing them to justice. Because of this specialized skill set, finding missing children is a natural extension of the Marshal's mission. Although many of the 27 recoveries occurred in Virginia's larger population centers, seven occurred in the Western District of Virginia to include Roanoke and Abingdon. This operation brought missing and exploited children to a place of safety and those who made the decision to prey upon them to justice."
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