WASHINGTON – Police departments around Hampton Roads helped find 27 missing children through a five-day law enforcement effort, "Operation Find Our Children."
According to a release by U.S. Marshals, the statewide effort also confirmed the location of six additional children previously reported as missing but back in the custody of their legal guardian.
Deputy U.S. Marshals from the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia worked with members of the U.S. Marshals Service Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and special agents, police officers and detectives from numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to locate the missing children.
U.S. Marshals said officers from the Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach Police Departments helped with recovery efforts. More than 50 employees from the Virginia Department of Social Services and a team of medical professionals and experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also participated in the effort.
Since 2005, the U.S. Marshals Service has recovered more than 2,000 missing children. Over the past five years, the agency has recovered missing children in 75 percent of the cases it has received, and of those recovered, 72 percent were recovered within seven days.
“What a tremendous testament to the power of cooperation and the mission of federal, state, and local law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia. “There is no greater mission than that of protecting and rescuing the most vulnerable. A huge debt of gratitude to the U.S. Marshal’s Service for their leadership of this operation and to all of the brave women and men of law enforcement who are responsible for saving these children.”