CRIME BLOTTER

Oregon girl one of 200 missing children found in nationwide operation

Jul 2, 2024, 3:59 PM | Updated: 4:04 pm

Image: The U.S. Marshals Service, along with federal, state, and local partner agencies, led Operat...

The U.S. Marshals Service, along with federal, state, and local partner agencies, led Operation We Will Find You 2, a six-week national operation from May 20-June 24, 2024. The operation resulted in the recovery of 200 missing children, including a girl from Portland, Oregon. (Photo courtesy of the The U.S. Marshals Service Office of Public Affairs/@usmarshals on Flickr)

(Photo courtesy of the The U.S. Marshals Service Office of Public Affairs/@usmarshals on Flickr)

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), with the help of local law enforcement agencies, conducted a six-week national operation, leading to the recovery of 200 missing children.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), this was the second Operation We Will Find You 2. The operation took place from May 20 to June 24. It focused on geographical areas with high clusters of critically missing children. One of the areas was Portland, Oregon.

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12-year-old girl found in Oregon

On May 21, a 12-year-old girl went missing from her home in Portland and had reported allegations of sexual abuse by family members, according to the DOJ. Officers were able to contact the girl through her cell phone and she agreed to meet them at a nearby grocery store.

Officers then got a call from the girl and a friend saying her father was trying to pull her into his car and she was scared. USMS investigators intervened and separated the girl from her estranged father. The girl then told officers two Hispanic men had raped her and that her father had touched her inappropriately.

The girl was recovered on May 24 and put into a foster home while the Oregon Department of Human Services investigated the allegations. The DOJ reported within 24 hours of being in foster care, the foster family kicked the child out of their home. The girl then called a deputy U.S. Marshal who had built rapport with her and asked for help. The U.S. Marshal reported the incident to Oregon agency which then placed the girl in a state-run shelter.

Nearly 125 children removed from dangerous locations

With the help of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), officers removed 123 children from dangerous locations. An additional 77 missing children were found in safe locations, according to law enforcement, or child welfare agencies.

The DOJ stated of the 200 children found, 173 were endangered runaways, 25 were considered otherwise missing, one was a family abduction and one was a non-family abduction. The youngest child was five months old and 17 of the children were found outside the city they went missing.

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In addition to Portland, the operation was conducted in Multnomah, Washington and Deschutes counties. Eugene, Oregon, and the Warm Springs Reservation were also locations noted as part of the probe.

Other states involved were Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and New York.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X here and email her here.

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Oregon girl one of 200 missing children found in nationwide operation