U.S. Marshals director Donald Washington told Fox News this week that most of the missing children cases in the United States are situations that involve violence and drugs.
“These are kids that are in particular danger as a result of either being victims of violent crime or because of who they are. For example, some of them may be in the middle of gang affiliations or in the midst of drug abusers or in the middle of some bad situations involving people who have violent tendencies and things of that sort,” he said.
“There are a lot of them in the country at any given time,” he continued. “For example, today I looked at the number, and we have 21,000 active missing persons under 18 cases open today. So there are a lot of them.”
It comes as several U.S. Marshals’ operations in recent weeks led to the recovery of dozens of missing or endangered children.
On Thursday, the service announced that 11 endangered children were located around New Orleans, Louisiana, after a weekslong operation. Operation Summer Rescue, which ran from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, involved several other agencies, including the Nashville, Tennessee, police and the FBI office in New Orleans. It worked to recover suspected runaway children.
The service over the past two months carried out other operations around the United States, including in northeastern Ohio, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Georgia, and elsewhere over the past month or so. In those operations, more than 100 children deemed endangered or missing were recovered.
In Ohio, officials said on Sept. 21 that 35 children were found.
“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 will continue to work over the next several weeks to bring these five remaining children and other children to safety,” the Marshals Service stated.
Any information about missing or endangered children should be reported to local police offices or to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost. Information about violent fugitives can be provided to the U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6872, via email at email@example.com, or with the USMS tips app. Crimestoppers GNO may also be contacted with tips at (504) 822-1111.