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For Immediate Release

Contact:
August 14, 2019 Terry Moore, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal
Northern District of West Virginia (304) 623-0486
U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs (703) 740-1699
U.S. Marshals Locate Missing Webster County Girl in Mexico

Clarksburg, WV – The U.S. Marshals in the Northern District of West Virginia have located a missing child from Webster County in Mexico.

Josephine Craft, 6, was safely located in Mexico City Tuesday evening with the assistance of Mexican authorities. Craft was reported missing July 20 after not being returned to her custodial parent from a scheduled visitation with her biological mother, Elizabeth Shirley Murray.

Murray is alleged to have scheduled to return Craft to her custodial parent on July 19, but failed to do so stating she was unable to make the trip, and that she would return the child on the following day. On July 20, Craft was not returned and Murray could not be reached by phone. On July 24 an emergency protective order was issued, granting custody of Craft to her father. A warrant was issued in Webster County for Murray on July 25, charging her with concealment of a child.

The U.S. Marshals Service was requested to assist in locating Craft on July 26. Investigators immediately began assisting the West Virginia State Police to recover the missing child. On August 13 at approximately 9 p.m., those efforts came to fruition when Craft and Murray were located at a hotel in Mexico City. Craft was said to be in good condition and is being returned to the U.S. to her father based on the court order. Murray was expelled from Mexico due to having no legal right to remain in the country. She will be returned to the U.S. to face criminal charges.

“A timely and successful investigation has led to the safe recovery of 6 year old Josephine. The cooperation of our Mexican Law Enforcement partners in this investigation was invaluable” said U.S. Marshal JC Raffety. “I am fortunate to serve with Deputy US Marshals in the Northern District of West Virginia, who daily dedicate their lives to justice and the rule of law.”

This is the second missing child located by U.S. Marshals in the Northern District of West Virginia in August. Gracelynn Scritchfield, 4, was located on August 1 in Pecos, TX.

The U.S. Marshals Service supports the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s mission to protect children from victimization by providing assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 enhanced the U.S. Marshals’ authority to assist federal, state and local law enforcement with the recovery of missing, endangered or abducted children, regardless of whether a fugitive or sex offender was involved. The Marshals established a Missing Child Unit to oversee and manage the implementation of its enhanced authority under the act. In 2018, the U.S. Marshals helped recover 242 missing children.

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

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