Story at a glance

  • The operation in Atlanta and Macon resulted in the rescue of 26 children and the safe location of 13 others.
  • “These missing children were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area,” the Marshals said.
  • The operation also led to the arrest of nine criminal associates and investigators said they cleared 26 arrest warrants.

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) found 39 missing children in Georgia while carrying out a two-week mission dubbed “Operation Not Forgotten,” the agency said in a statement Thursday. 

The operation in Atlanta and Macon resulted in the rescue of 26 children and the safe location of 13 others. The U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the agency’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and state and local agencies. 


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“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 agency said in the statement. 

“Other children were located at the request of law enforcement to ensure their wellbeing. USMS investigators were able to confirm each child’s location in person and assure their safety and welfare,” the agency said. 

The operation also led to the arrest of nine criminal associates and investigators said they cleared 26 arrest warrants. Additional charges were also filed for alleged crimes related to sex trafficking, parental kidnapping and registered sex offender violations, among others. 

The Marshals Service said it helped recover 295 missing children last year. 

“When we track down fugitives, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re putting the bad guy behind bars. But that sense of accomplishment is nothing compared to finding a missing child,” Darby Kirby, chief of the Missing Child Unit, said in a statement. 

“It’s hard to put into words what we feel when we rescue a missing child, but I can tell you that this operation has impacted every single one of us out here. We are working to protect them and get them the help they need,” Kirby said.

Published on Aug 28, 2020