DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas announced Wednesday, March 10, 31 DFW-area children have been located, recovered, or rescued as a result of “Operation Missing in the Metroplex,” a month-long operation led by the U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations.
The federal agencies partnered with four local police departments – the Arlington Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Fort Worth Police Department, and the Grand Prairie Police Department – to locate the missing minors.READ MORE: Texas Legislature Could Make COVID-19 Liability Lawsuits Harder To Win
Analysts with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Missing & Unidentified Persons Unit and the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services provided critical intelligence.
Local nonprofit 4theONE provided 24-hour support and relayed numerous tips that culminated in recoveries.
“To observe law enforcement partnerships and community concerns culminate into such a successful recovery outcome is rewarding,” said Acting United States Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw. “Victims should know they are not forgotten, there is hope and a way to return home.”
“While this joint operation lasted approximately 30 days, HSI Dallas will continue working relentlessly to identify and recover missing children who become vulnerable to human traffickers across the North Texas region,” said HSI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin. “Our continued collaboration with our local, state and federal law-enforcement partners and non-governmental organizations is vital to combatting this global epidemic.”
At least seven recoveries were of critically missing children with ties to sex trafficking. Noteworthy cases include:
· A 15-year-old Jane Doe recovered by Dallas Police at a residence in Dallas following a tip by a confidential source.
· A 17-year-old Jane Doe recovered by Dallas Police inside a vehicle in Dallas.
· A 16-year-old Jane Doe recovered by Arlington Police inside a residence in Kerens, TX following an analysis of social media.READ MORE: 2 Suspects In Custody And Hospitalized Following Chase, Shootout In Johnson County
· A 13-year-old Jane Doe recovered by Fort Worth Police inside an apartment in Fort Worth.
· A 15-year-old Jane Doe from Fort Worth recovered in an Uber in Houston during a prostitution sting.
· A 16-year-old Jane Doe recovered by Fort Worth Police at a “john’s” house in Fort Worth.
· A 16-year-old Jane Doe recovered by Dallas Police walking on Lancaster Blvd.
The remaining 24 children were recovered from friends or relatives, reunited with their legal guardians, and removed from the missing children database.
“We are grateful to be a part of a coalition of extraordinary law enforcement agencies who were dedicated in reuniting these children with their loved ones. It is our hope that each of them will be able to put this traumatic experience behind them and move forward to have a happy and productive life,” said Dallas Police Department Chief of Police Eddie Garcia.
“We will continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to identify and rescue missing children,” said Arlington Chief of Police Al Jones. “These kids and teens represent some of our most vulnerable populations where adults try to prey on their innocence. We will not rest until every child is located safe and someone is held accountable.”
“It is imperative that we continue to work with our partners to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, our children. We value our state and federal partnerships and were honored to be included as part of ‘Operation Missing in the Metroplex.’ We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partnerships in locating missing children and reuniting them with their families. Human trafficking is a serious issue and we will not rest until our most vulnerable population are safe,” said Fort Worth Police Department Chief Neil Noakes.MORE NEWS: I-Team: 3 Ways To Avoid Becoming Victim Of Savvy, Sophisticated Scams
The Justice Department records more than 420,000 reports of missing children each year.