At least 7 of the minors had ties to sex-trafficking.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas released a statement Wednesday that a month-long operation has met with huge success in the recovery of 31 missing minors. "Operation Missing in the Metroplex" was led by the U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations in conjunction with four Texas police departments: the Arlington Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Fort Worth Police Department, and the Grand Prairie Police Department.
The operation was aided by information and tips provided by analysts with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Missing & Unidentified Persons Unit and the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services. 4theONE, a local nonprofit working with families at no cost, also provided 24-hour support and relayed information that resulted in the recovery of many of the missing children.
Eddie Garcia, Chief of Police for the Dallas Police Department, said in the statement, "We are grateful to be a part of a coalition of extraordinary law enforcement agencies who were dedicated in (sic) reuniting these children with their loved ones," adding that everyone involved hopes that each of the minors "will be able to put this traumatic experience behind them and move forward to have a happy and productive life.”
24 of the children were found with friends or relatives and have been reunited with their legal guardians and removed from the missing children database. At least seven of the minors had ties to prostitution and sex trafficking. Most notably:
- 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 following an analysis of social media.
- 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 Boulevard.
In 2019, the FBI reported 398,250 juveniles under the age of 18 were included in the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person and Unidentified Person Files. The Justice Department asserts that number is around the average each year and in some cases if it includes those over 21, the number is well over 400,000.
The Acting United States Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw said of 'Operation Missing in the Metroplex:' “To observe law enforcement partnerships and community concerns culminate into such a successful recovery outcome is rewarding,” and reached out to victims saying they "should know they are not forgotten, there is hope and a way to return home.”
The Justice Department suggests if your child is missing, call local law enforcement immediately, and provide them with your child’s name, height, weight, any other descriptive identifiers (glasses, braces, etc.), and the circumstances under which they went missing. Then, consider calling the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) for additional support.
Check out another story of 150 missing children rescued and reunited with families, here.
In the comments, share your prayers and hopes for these children.