Operation Volunteer Strong began on January 4 after 240 missing youngsters had been identified in the state. A collection of “two-week blitzes” brought about the rescue of 150 of those kids, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation stated in a press release.
At least 5 of the kids were possible targets of human trafficking. Cases are still open for those ones. One kid was saved during a kidnapping investigation, leading to the apprehension of a suspect.
Members of the operation talked at a news conference on Wednesday at the TBI head office in Nashville.
“I hope this operation changes the course for 150 young lives and leads them to the path of opportunities every child deserves,” stated Tyreece Miller, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee. “Our efforts should also serve notice to those who prey on society’s most vulnerable that these children are not forgotten. Investigations will continue and the next knock at the door could be for you.”
The operation was a collaboration with the TBI, U.S. Marshals Service, as well as the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children supplied research and also analytical assistance throughout the operation.
“Operation Volunteer Strong is a great example of how working together, we can find missing children and get them the help they need to move forward,” stated John Clark, NCMEC’s President, and also chief Executive Officer “We’re thrilled to see so many missing children recovered in Tennessee, and we thank all the agencies involved for their dedication to child protection.”
Similar operations in Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, as well as various other states were successful in removing 440 kids “out of harm’s way” in 2020, Virginia’s Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen stated in a press release regarding the rescue of 27 youngsters in November.
The U.S. Marshals in October revealed the rescue of 45 missing kids, leading to 179 arrests, in Operation Autumn Hope throughout Ohio. It was the 2nd such objective in the Buckeye State, after Operation Safety Net, which in August resulted in the locating of 25 missing youngsters in under 3 weeks.
Also in 2020, Operation Not Forgotten in Georgia resulted in the rescue of 39 kids in August, as well as Operation Homecoming in September that located 8 missing children in Indiana. Operation Not Forgotten rescued another 26 children in Georgia in January 2021, 9 people were arrested.
While the official Tennessee operation has wrapped up, initiatives to locate the remaining 90 missing youngsters identified will proceed, TBI representative Josh DeVine stated.
Most of the children rescued will get assistance from the state’s DCS, consisting of possible placement into foster homes, group homes, or other specific care.
Hundreds of youngsters go missing each month in Tennessee, whether as the outcome of runaway circumstances, guardianship fights, kidnappings, or various other situations, stated TBI Director David Rausch.
“Every single one of them deserves a fighting chance, and that’s why they also deserve our best work to help them,” Rausch mentioned.
Middle District Tennessee U.S. Marshal Denny King echoed that view.
“We can’t give up. We need the public, the media, and all law enforcement to not give up,” King stated. “If you see something, or know something, say something. We cannot give up and stop searching for our most vulnerable and those who cannot help themselves.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.