Alexandria, VA – The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and state and local agencies in 16 federal judicial districts and 15 geographical locations across the U.S., led a 10-week national operation that resulted in the recovery or safe location of 225 endangered missing children, which includes runaways and those abducted by non-custodial persons.
Operation We Will Find You is the first nationwide missing child operation focused on geographical areas with high clusters of critically missing children.
Operation We Will Find You resulted in the recovery of 169 children and the safe location of 56 children. During the operation, the USMS referred 28 cases to law enforcement agencies for further investigation of crimes such as drugs and weapons, sex trafficking, and sex offender violations. Law enforcement reported allegations of trafficking in over 40 cases the U.S. Marshals Service assisted with. Of the cases closed, 86% were endangered runaways, nearly 9% were family abductions, and 5% were considered otherwise missing. The youngest child recovered was six months old.
During the operation, 42 children were found outside the city where they went missing, and 10 children were found outside of the United States in Mexico. In addition, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested a Top 15 Most Wanted couple who fled to Mexico from Washington state with their five children, whom they had taken into hiding.
Fourteen children were recovered or located safe during the operation timeframe within the Eastern District of Virginia.
Some highlights from the district include:
- On March 2, just one day into the start of the operation, Deputy U.S. Marshals located a 15-year-old girl who had disappeared from Loudoun the week prior. The girl was found in the bedroom of a 30-year-old man who was arrested on an outstanding probation warrant from a local county.
- On April 13, Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from participating agencies and with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, Manassas Air Branch assistance, approached an address in Woodbridge. After making entry into the residence two missing juveniles were recovered and another individual hiding inside the residence was arrested on an outstanding warrant. In addition, a subsequent search of the residence produced a Glock 9mm, Luger 9mm, Taurus 9mm, tan Sig Sauer 9mm, a polymer lower, approximately 25 Percocet, one pound of marijuana and cash.
Participating agencies in the Eastern District of Virginia:
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, Manassas Air Branch
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Prince William County Police Department Manassas
- Fairfax County Police Department
- Alexandria Police Department
- Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Leesburg
- Fauquier County Sheriff's Office Warrenton
- Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Stafford