CLEVELAND — Thirty-five children have been recovered during the month-long Operation Safety Net effort under United States Marshal Pete Elliott, Police Chief Calvin Williams, Sheriff David Schilling, East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner, and Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy.
The U.S. Marshals Service worked with its state and local partners over the past month to locate and recover missing juveniles from the Cuyahoga County area. Thirty-five missing and endangered children, between the ages of 13 and 18, were recovered during the operation.
Just over 20% of the children were tied to human trafficking cases and those cases were referred to the Human Trafficking Task Force in Cuyahoga County. Of the 40 missing cases referred to the Marshals Task Force only five cases remain open. Members of the task force and its local partners said they will continue to work over the next several weeks to bring these five remaining children and other children to safety.
Based on the results of this operation, the United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio has now created a permanent Missing Child Unit throughout the 40 counties of Northern Ohio to focus on missing, abused, neglected and trafficked juveniles.
U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated, “This was new unchartered territory and the first time we conducted an operation like this. I am very proud of our law enforcement, community and media partners who worked tirelessly to bring our missing and most vulnerable children to safety. The establishment of a permanent unit in Northern Ohio will ensure that our most vulnerable missing children will continue to be found and brought to safety.”
Children were located and recovered in Cleveland, Euclid, Akron, Mansfield, Columbus, Miami, Florida and other cities throughout Ohio.
“We are proud to assist in Operation Safety Net and I commend the United States Marshals Service for their hard work and dedication toward locating these children," said Chief John Majoy of Newburg Heights. "Many times, they do not know they are a victim and this operation offers hope, freedom and safety they would not otherwise have. This is a fine example of local, state and federal partners all working together for a notable cause. Together we can all make a difference.”
The Missing Child Unit of The U.S. Marshals Service will continue to be asking for support from the community in locating these five remaining missing kids. Tips about where these kids can be called into the U.S. Marshals tip line at 1-866-492-6833.