Danbury CT – The U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force and the Danbury Police Department this morning recovered a trafficked and endangered child, and in the process arrested a man suspected of assault.
Wayne Marcell, 35, of Danbury, was arrested at 8:30 a.m. today and charged with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.
This investigation stems from "Operation Not Forgotten 2021," during which the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit led a two-week operation in the metro Atlanta area that recovered 20 endangered missing children. Other participating agencies included the U.S. Marshals Service's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and Georgia state and local agencies.
"The U.S. Marshals Service in the District of Connecticut would like to commend the hard work and dedication of all the law enforcement professionals involved in this case," said Lawrence Bobnick, U.S. Marshal for the District of Connecticut. "With its nationwide reach and investigative focus, the U.S. Marshals Service appreciates opportunities such as this case to rescue innocent victims from their abductors."
Operation Not Forgotten 2021, conducted in May of this year, was the third of its kind in as many years led by the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. As with the August 2020 operation, the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force embedded members of the Georgia Attorney General's office into the U.S. Marshals Service teams to consider potential prosecutions as the marshals recovered children who were known or suspected victims of child sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking. Of the 20 recovered, 16 of the children were suspected victims of sex trafficking. These missing children 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.
The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) is leading the way in a nationwide effort to recover missing and exploited children. Since 2015, the USMS has assisted in recovering more than 1,800 missing children. Since 2015, the U.S. Marshals Service has contributed to the recovery of a missing child in 75% of cases received and of those, 66% were recovered within seven days of the Marshals providing assistance on the case. Nationwide, more than 50 local USMS task forces are dedicated to violent crime reduction by locating and apprehending wanted criminals. These task forces also serve as investigation hubs for missing and exploited juveniles throughout the country.
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.
The Violent Fugitive Task Force is a team of law enforcement officers led by U.S. Marshals from the District of Connecticut. The task force's objective is to seek out and arrest violent fugitives and sexual predators. Membership agencies include Hartford, New Haven, West Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Waterbury Police Departments as well as ICE.