US Marshals operation finds 25 missing Southeast Michigan kids
Published in News & Features
Twenty-five endangered missing children were recovered in Southeast Michigan in a 10-week federal investigation, officials said Wednesday.
The kids who were found included runaways and those who'd been abducted. Authorities with the U.S. Marshals Service said the effort, called "Operation We Will Find You," was the first nationwide missing child operation focusing on geographical areas with high numbers of critically missing children.
"The U.S. Marshals Service has many important missions, but I cannot think of any that is more critical than findingchildren who are missing and getting them to safety," Owen Cypher, the U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Michigan, said in a statement.
Marshals worked with state and local agencies in 16 communities across the country under the operation and recovered a total of 225 endangered missing children. The youngest child recovered is six months old.
In Michigan, the U.S. Marshals Service worked with representatives of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the Michigan State Police's Missing Child Clearinghouse and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, authorities said.
Some of the recovered children were considered to be challenging cases in Southeast Michigan because of high-risk factors such as child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions. Others were sought due to requests from law enforcement agencies to ensure they were safe and confirm the child's location, according to officials.
"Our work does not stop here, we are only getting started," Cypher said. "We intend to build on this mission of recovering missing children here in the Eastern District of Michigan and will stop at nothing to bring home anymissing child that we become aware of."
Cypher said a 2015 federal law enhanced the service's authority to assist law enforcement agencies in recovering endangered missing children, regardless of whether a fugitive or sex offender was involved. Under the act, the service established a Missing Child Unit.
The service also formed a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2005. Since then, the U.S. Marshals have recovered more than 3,050 missing children. Sixty-two percent of those children were found within a week of the service's involvement in the case, officials said.
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