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For Immediate Release

Contact:
April 24, 2019

Alex Camacho, Senior Inspector
Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (770) 508-2500;

U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs (703) 740-1699
U.S. Marshals and Law Enforcement Partners Recover 16 ‘Highly Endangered’
Missing Children in Multi-Agency Operation in North Georgia

Atlanta, GA – The U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, in coordination with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and metro Atlanta area law enforcement officers, recently wrapped up an operation dubbed Empty Nest to recover highly endangered missing children throughout the Northern District of Georgia.

From April 8-19, law enforcement officials recovered 16 missing children and arrested eight criminal associates, clearing seven arrest warrants and filing nine additional charges for alleged crimes related to parental kidnapping, aggravated assault, drugs and weapons possession, theft and custodial interference.

The recovered children were ultimately turned over to the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services for victim assistance and placement.

The two-week initiative was the culmination of several months of planning and coordination between the SERFTF, the GBI and NCMEC. The children were all reported missing by local law enforcement, entered into the National Crime Information Center and reported to NCMEC as missing.

The recovered children, between the ages of 4 and 17, were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse and medical or mental health conditions.

Participating officers were given the case files and began investigating the children’s whereabouts starting with last known addresses, friend’s homes, and schools in hopes of finding them and getting them back to a safe place.

Empty Nest is the first missing child operation by a U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force in the United States.

“The Marshals are committed to assisting state and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children to help prevent them from falling victim to crimes of violence and exploitation,” said SERFTF Commander James Joyner. “The message that we wish to convey to the missing children and their families is that we will find you.”

Agencies involved in the operation included:

  • USMS Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force

  • USMS Missing Child Unit

  • USMS Northern District of Georgia

  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation

  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

  • Hall County Sheriff’s Office

  • DeKalb County Police and Sheriff’s Office

  • Gwinnett County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office

  • Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office

  • Houston County Sheriff’s Office

  • Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

  • Atlanta Police Department

  • Butts County Sheriff’s Office

  • Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

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