Federal authorities found 33 missing children across the Commonwealth and arrested two men in Roanoke in connection to one child’s disappearance, the U.S. Marshals Service announced Friday.
Through “Operation Find Out Children,” authorities were able to locate these children. Most of the rescues were in Virginia’s larger populated areas, but seven occurred in Southwest Virginia in places like Roanoke and Abingdon.
According to the U.S Marshals Service, a missing 16-year-old girl in the Roanoke area was found with two men who were subsequently arrested. There was evidence of drug trafficking at the scene and one of the men, a convicted felon, had a loaded pistol in his possession.
Another case showed that a 14-year-old girl was reported missing by her family in Southwest Virginia. Deputy Marshals deemed her as endangered and a victim of human trafficking. She was found safely in Arlington and returned to her family.
“There is no greater mission for law enforcement than rescuing an endangered child,” acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Bubar of the Western District of Virginia said. “We stand ready to investigate and prosecute any leads that come from this important operation.”
In the past year, the U.S. Marshals investigations in western Virginia have led to the safe recovery of 17 children.
Authorities did not identify any suspects.
The U.S. Marshals Service collaborated with more than 60 law enforcement investigators and more than 50 employees from the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Source: WSLS News 10