The United States Marshals recovered eight missing children and brought them to safety during "Operation Homecoming," a five-day multi-agency rescue mission in Indianapolis last week, officials announced. One adult was also arrested for charges of parental kidnapping, intimidation, weapons possession and custodial interference, according to a statement by the U.S. Marshal Southern District of Indiana and the United States Marshals Office of Public Affairs.
The children that were rescued were between the ages of 6 and 17 and were part of what is being considered "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, sex abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions,” according to the release.
"Operation Homecoming" took place from Aug. 31 to Sept, 4. This operation was the first missing child operation by the U.S. Marshals Service assigned to the Southern District of Indiana, authorities said.
The one-week initiative was the culmination of several months of planning and coordination between the USMS Southern District of Indiana, the USMS Missing Child Unit, the USMS Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana Department of Child Services, Indiana Fusion Center and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
After the rescue, the children were turned over to the care of the Indiana Department of Child Services for victim assistance and placement.
“The Marshals are committed to assisting state and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children to help prevent their falling victim to crimes of violence and exploitation,” U.S. Marshal Dan McClain said in the release. “The message that we wish to convey to the missing children and their families is that we will use every resource at our disposal to find you.”
Last week, the U.S. Marshals Service found 39 missing children in Georgia during "Operation Not Forgotten.” Many of the children recovered were found with a parent, kidnapped by a parent, had gone missing from child services, or had fled juvenile justice, Darby Kirby, chief of the Marshals’ Missing Child Unit told USA Today.
In the Georgia operation, Kirby said 15 recovered children were victims of trafficking. Most were considered runaways “who fell into the human trafficking realm,” authorities said.
In Ohio, authorities located 25 missing and endangered children during “Operation Safety Net,” a 20-day mission last week, reported by CBS News. U.S. Marshal Peter Elliot said that the operation is likely to continue into October.
These operations, according to Kirby, are designed on the local level to locate missing children, rather than a coordinated sweep. Since 2005, the marshes have helped recover 1,800 missing children, officials said.