16 missing or endangered children recovered through operation “Fresh Start”

New Orleans, Louisiana:  On Thursday, April 7 the U.S. Marshals Service announced the results of Operation "Fresh Start" which took place in the New Orleans, Louisiana metropolitan area from January 1, 2022 through March 31, 2022.

According to their statement, sixteen missing and endangered children were rescued or recovered with six more children being "self-returned." Still three more children were recovered from an "other" status and three more were recovered by other law enforcement agencies.

 

Fresh Start resulted in give arrests during the operation and now there are at least four more felony warrants for "adults suspected of involvement with MCU (Missing Children Unit) minors and the USMS New Orleans Task Force is actively pursuing these fugitives."

 

The Marshals noted that during the operation they "uncovered allegations of human trafficking in several of the cases."

 

One such case, listed under their highlights, involved the recovery of a 14-year-old girl who was listed as a runaway with the New Orleans Police Department. Her parents had expressed concerns to the police that she may be involved with sex trafficking and be in the custody of an older male in Florida. She was recovered in Georgia living with several adults and investigators found reason to believe that she may have spent some time in Jacksonville, Florida before arriving in Georgia.

 

Four of the children recovered, as indicated in the highlights, were recovered after they were abducted by either non-custodial parents or other family members. Those children ranged in ages between 1 and 7-years-old.

 

Also of note according to the Marshals was the recovery of a 15-year-old female that had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The Marshals disclosed that she had wrestled free from restraints and fled an ambulance on the way to Children's Hospital in New Orleans. She was located at a residence with the assistance of the New Orleans Police Department Special Victim's Division- Child Abuse Unit, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office and the Xavier University Police Department.

 

U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana Scott Illing said, "I am very proud of the cooperative work done by all the agencies involved in safeguarding at risk children. Our office is proud to be a part of a robust MCU program that took root in New Orleans starting in 2016."

 

Fresh Start is the result of twenty different law enforcement agencies working together.