DENVER — Eleven endangered and missing children were located following a dedicated missing child operation led by the U.S. Marshals Service in Colorado — the first of its kind in the state.
The two-week undertaking, called Operation Lost and Found, lasted from Nov. 7 through Nov. 18. During that time, federal investigators worked with the Aurora Police Department's (APD) Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to find the children, who were all considered critically endangered and missing from the Denver metro area. Once they were found, the Colorado Department of Human Services worked to determine the next steps for them.
One adult was arrested for allegedly interfering with custodial order, according to U.S. Marshals. This person was not identified.
All of the children are between 12 and 17 years old were considered as some of the "most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area," the U.S. Marshals said, adding this was based on factors such as "victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sex abuse, physical abuse and medical or mental health conditions."
All of the children had been reported missing to local law enforcement agencies, entered into the National Crime Information Center database, and reported as missing to NCMEC.
This marked the first dedicated missing child operation conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service in Colorado, according to the office.
While the operation lasted two weeks, the involved agencies planned for months ahead of time. Aside from APD, the U.S. Marshals Service in Colorado and NCMEC, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and Homeland Security Investigations were also involved in Operation Lost and Found.
“As the Marshals continue to develop our Missing Child Unit, we will continue to support state and local law enforcement partners in locating and reunifying missing and exploited children with their families,” said Kirk Taylor, U.S. Marshal for the District of Colorado.
The U.S. Marshals Service was granted authority to help in missing child cases in 2015 after the Justice for Juvenile Victims of Trafficking Act passed. To manage these cases, the U.S. Marshals Service created the Missing Child Unit.