INDIANAPOLIS — Eight missing children were rescued during a five-day operation in the Indianapolis area, according to a Friday release from the U.S. Marshals Southern District of Indiana.
The children rescued during “Operation Homecoming” are between 6 to 17 years old and “considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area,” the release said.
No further details about the youths or their circumstances were released.
An adult was also arrested during the operation on charges that included parental kidnapping, possession of weapons and intimidation.
To help locate these children, the U.S. Marshals Service planned for months with other organizations including the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The children were turned over to the care of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
This is the first missing children operation for the U.S. Marshals Southern Indiana District, according to the release.
“The Marshals are committed to assisting state and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children to help prevent their falling victim to crimes of violence and exploitation,” Dan McClain, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana, said in the release. “We will use every resource at our disposal to find [the missing children].”
More than 50 children were recovered in similar operations that recently took place in Georgia and Ohio.
In Ohio, “Operation Safety Net” led to the discovery of 25 children ages 13 to 18 in less than three weeks, the Marshals Service said. The operation is likely to continue into October, U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott said.
Georgia’s “Operation Not Forgotten” helped recover 39 children earlier this month. Many of the children recovered were found with a parent, kidnapped by a parent, had gone missing from child services or had fled juvenile justice, Darby Kirby, chief of the Marshals’ Missing Child Unit, told USA TODAY last week.
That’s in contrast to widespread fears about child abductions at the hands of strangers, Shehan said. It is much more common for a child to become ensnared in human trafficking through the actions of a relative or after running away.
In the Georgia operation, 15 recovered children were victims of trafficking – most would be considered runaways “who fell into the human trafficking realm,” according to Kirby.
These operations are part of efforts at the local level to locate missing children rather than a coordinated nationwide sweep, Kirby said. Since 2005, the marshals have helped recover 1,800 missing children.
Contributing: Jessica Flores and Joel Shannon, USA TODAY
Follow Lydia Gerike on Twitter @LydiaGerike.