Authorities announced today 150 children missing in Tennessee have been recovered in a joint operation by multiple law enforcement agencies spanning months. They range in age from 3 to 17 years old and 93 of them were girls.
“Operation Volunteer Strong” set out last fall to track down each of the 240 children reported missing and endangered in Tennessee. Intelligence files were created by analysts and in January, ground teams started running down leads on each child during a two-week surge operation in all three regions of the state.
In East Tennessee, officers identified 86 missing children, of which 56 were recovered, five of them in other states. Of the 56 children recovered, authorities located 27 of them in the weeks leading up to the operation, and three after it concluded. Three of the recovered juveniles were identified as potential human trafficking victims, resulting in a still-active TBI investigation.
In Middle Tennessee, the TBI says 72 missing children were identified and 42 of them were recovered. Law enforcement identified one as a potential human trafficking victim.
The remaining missing children recovered were in the western part of the state.
“We can’t give up. We need the public, the media, and all law enforcement to not give up,” Denny King, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Tennessee said. “If you see something, or know something, say something. We cannot give up and stop searching for our most vulnerable and those who cannot help themselves.”