In April of last year, Operation Empty Nest (an undertaking by the U.S. Marshals Service, Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) achieved a small miracle .
Led by Gerald “Jerry” Dysart of the US Marshals Service/Missing Child Unit, this joint federal, state, and local law enforcement operation succeeded in rescuing 16 child victims of physical and sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and exploitation. Victims were between the ages of 4 and 17.
In addition to the 16 who had been reported missing, another 11 were found alive.
Over the past two years, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has recovered 500 children. Against the backdrop of the coronavirus and the George Floyd protests, this news was largely overlooked.
May 25 was designated in 1983 as National Missing Children’s Day, in memory of Etan Patz – a 6 y.o. whose disappearance helped launch the missing children’s movement .
That we should have to establish such a memorial is tragic. That valiant men and women continue to rescue these defenseless children from the onslaught of evil is the highest form of dedication.
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’ ” (Matt. 25; 40).
 Fox News, “Deputy US marshal led effort to rescue 16 children over 2 weeks, Justice Department says” by Michael Ruiz, 5/21/20, https://www.foxnews.com/us/deputy-us-marshal-rescue-16-missing-children-justice-department?cmpid=prn_msn.
 US Marshals Service, 5/21/20, https://www.usmarshals.gov/news/chron/2020/052120.htm.
 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), “National Missing Children’s Day”, https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/events/missing-childrens-day/about-missing-childrens-day.
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