COLUMBUS - Thirty-five missing children were recovered during "Operation Safety Net," U.S. Marshals and Ohio law enforcement officials announced Monday, Sept. 21.
In a news release, U.S. Marshals said they've been working with state and local partners over the past month to locate and recover missing children from the Cuyahoga County, Ohio area.
That effort has resulted in the recovery of 35 missing and endangered children, between the ages of 13 and 18.
A little more than 20% were tied to human trafficking cases, and those cases were referred to the Human Trafficking Task Force in Cuyahoga County, officials said.
Of the 40 missing cases referred to the Marshals Task Force, officials said Monday only five remain open, and task force members and partners would be working over the next several weeks to bring these remaining children and other children to safety.
In late August, U.S. Marshals announced the recovery of 25 children in Ohio as part of this operation.
Children were located and recovered in Cleveland, Euclid, Akron, Mansfield, Columbus, Miami, Florida and other cities throughout Ohio.
The release said based on the results of "Operation Safety Net," a permanent Missing Child Unit has been created throughout the 40 counties of Northern Ohio "to focus on those missing, abused, neglected and trafficked juveniles."
“This was new unchartered territory and the first time we conducted an operation like this," said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott. "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.”
The Missing Child Unit of The U.S. Marshals Service will continue to seek support from the community in locating the five remaining missing kids. Tips can be called into the U.S. Marshals tip line at 1-866-492-6833.