April 12, 2022

USA: U.S. Marshals Missing Child Unit (MCU) Operation ‘Fresh Start’ Recovers Sixteen Missing Endangered Children and Makes Five Arrests

U.S. Marshals
Thursday April 7, 2022

New Orleans, LA – U.S. Marshals Service Eastern District of Louisiana New Orleans Task Force (USMS)-led, Missing Child Unit (MCU) Operation “Fresh Start” was conducted in the New Orleans, Louisiana metro area from January 01, 2022, until March 31, 2022, resulting in the rescue or recovery of sixteen (16) missing/endangered children. In addition, six (6) children self-returned, three (3) children were recovered as other status, and three (3) more were recovered by other law enforcement agencies. Five (5) arrests were made during the operation. Investigations as part of the three-month MCU operation also uncovered allegations of human sex trafficking in several of the cases.

Some MCU Operation “Fresh Start” highlights include:

-The 03/25/2022, recovery of a 14-year-old female runaway for the New Orleans Police Department at an address in Fayetteville, Georgia where she was located by the USMS Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force residing with several adults. The teen had run away from New Orleans in January of 2022 and family were concerned about her possible involvement in sex trafficking and believed that she was with an older male in Florida. USMS investigation shows the teen may have also traveled to the Jacksonville, Florida area as well before being located in Georgia.

-The 01/20/2022, recovery of a 5-year-old female and 7-year-old male that were taken by the non-custodial parent. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office issued a felony warrant for the mother of the children for Kidnapping, and she made active attempts to avoid arrest along the way. The non-custodial parent/mother took the children to the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area and the USMS Florida/Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force was able to recover the children and arrest the mother on her Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office warrant.

-The 01/13/2022, arrests and recovery of two male teens who escaped from the New Orleans Youth Study Center. They along with two other teens were being held for violent offenses. There were allegations after they escaped that they were involved in the carjacking of an elderly woman. One teen was arrested/recovered by New Orleans Police Department Violent Offenders Warrant Squad and USMS New Orleans Task Force at an address in the 8000 block of Stroelitz Street New Orleans. The second teen was arrested/recovered by New Orleans Police Department and USMS New Orleans Task Force along with assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies after a foot chase and neighborhood lockdown in the 1000 block of North Johnson Street New Orleans. That teen was found hiding in the backyard of a residence.

-The 02/09/2022, recovery of a 15-year-old Ouachita Parish, LA female diagnosed with Schizophrenia who wrestled free from restraints and jumped out of an ambulance on the way to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. She was located and recovered at an address in New Orleans, LA with assistance from New Orleans Police Department Special Victim’s Division – Child Abuse Unit, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Xavier University Police Department.

-The 03/26/2022, recovery of a 14-year-old habitual runaway and previous victim of sexual assault for St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. With assistance from the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and Addis, Louisiana Police Department she was recovered in Addis, LA and returned to St. Tammany Parish.

-The 01/31/2022, recovery of a 1-year-old male child abducted by his father after the father shot and killed the infant’s grandfather in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans Police Department Violent Offenders Warrant Squad (VOWS) and USMS New Orleans Task Force immediately began to search for Edmond RAMEE Sr., and he surrendered to NOPD VOWS on the evening of 01/31/2022, with the child being safely located and recovered.

-The recovery of a 16-year-old female who had been reported missing by her father. The female juvenile had run away with her 2-year-old son who the missing juvenile’s father was also the legal guardian of. With assistance from the USMS New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force (NY/NJ RFTF) both the teen and her son were located and recovered in the Bronx, NY.

-The 02/08/2022, recovery of 2-year-old male who had been kidnapped by a family member. The child was taken from his crib and abducted from the residence. NOPD Special Victim’s Division – Child Abuse Unit and USMS New Orleans Taskforce began to canvass the area, conducting interviews and authoring search warrants, that led to the child being returned safely to his mother.

Based on the operation at least four (4) felony warrant exist for adults suspected of involvement with MCU minors and the USMS New Orleans Task Force is actively pursuing these fugitives.

New Orleans was one of the original U.S. cities to begin a USMS pilot program for the Missing Child Unit in 2016, and U.S. Marshals Service Eastern District of Louisiana Deputy U.S. Marshals have provided instruction to other USMS districts and state agencies on how to coordinate their MCU operations, which have gained national news attention within the last two years.

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, said U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana Scott Illing. “This work is being done with our partners while our office still performs its critical USMS missions (judicial and witness security, managing federal prisoners, violent fugitives’ apprehension, sex offender investigations, and service of federal process).

Participants in MCU Operation: “Fresh Start” included:
  • U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) New Orleans Task Force USMS offices to include:
  • USMS Middle District of Louisiana, USMS Western District of Louisiana, USMS Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF), USMS New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force (NY/NJ RFTF), USMS Florida/Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force (FCRFTF)
  • New Orleans Police Department
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Addis, Louisiana Police Department
  • Xavier University Police Department
  • Louisiana State Police
  • Fayette County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office
  • New York Police Department (NYPD)
  • Broward County, Florida Sheriff’s Office
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) New Orleans Field Office
  • Homeland Security (HSI) New Orleans Field Office
  • Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services
  • Georgia Department of Children and Family Services
  • Florida Department of Children and Family Services
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
  • Crimestoppers GNO
Any information about missing/endangered children should be reported to your local police department and or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost. Information about violent fugitives can be provided to the U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6872, via email at usms.wanted@usdoj.gov, or with the USMS tips app. Crimestoppers GNO may also be contacted with tips at (504) 822-1111.

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at http://www.usmarshals.gov.

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