U.S. Marshals Recover 35 Missing Children in Ohio

The U.S. Marshals Service announced Wednesday that a multi-jurisdictional investigation has led them to the successful recovery of 35 missing children from Northern Ohio.

The Northern District of Ohio was one of sixteen selected regions to take part in this operation due to past success in carrying out such operations. Operation We Will Find You, a national missing child operation, centered around major metropolitan areas, such as Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, and surrounding counties.

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Alex Rutter says that operations such as Operation We Will Find You help broaden the reach of local law enforcement agencies.

“These operations help bring a larger scale approach to add resources, broaden the reach of the local police departments, and streamline investigative effort, especially when they cross state and jurisdictional line,” Rutter said.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, the cases led officers across Ohio, and even across the country to California, Arizona, and West Virginia.

Photo “Operation We Will Find You in Northern Ohio Resulted in 35 Missing Children Being Located Over a Roughly Two Month Period” by United States Marshals Service.

Prior to the investigation, all the missing juvenile’s whereabouts were unknown, and the U.S. Marshals Service said that critical risk factors placed them in an elevated danger of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or human trafficking.

According to U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott, the Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children.

“The main objective of Operation We Will Find You was to find as many critically missing children as possible. The epidemic of missing children in our country needs a spotlight, it needs our focus. We hope operations like this sharpen that focus. Every child deserves a safe environment to grow up in, and we are dedicated to helping provide that for the children and families in Northern Ohio,” Elliot said.

This is the third large-scale missing child operation conducted by the U.S. Marshals in Northern Ohio. The operation ran from March 1, 2023, until May 15, 2023.

A report from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost‘s office released Thursday details that 20,617 people were declared missing in Ohio last year an increase of 1,603 individuals from the prior year.

Of the total number of people declared missing, 15,555 were children, broken down to 8,224 girls and 7,331 boys.
Authorities were able to recover 96 percent of them by the end of 2022, totaling 14,940 children. However, this left 615 still missing in 2023.

According to Attorney General Yost, his heart is with the parents whose child hasn’t come home yet.

“Nothing terrifies a parent more than the thought of losing a child. Thankfully, when a child goes missing, Ohio law enforcement rises to the task and often quickly reunites missing kids,” Attorney General Yost said.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Operation We Will Find You in Northern Ohio Resulted in 35 Missing Children Being Located Over a Roughly Two Month Period” by United States Marshals Service.


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