Law enforcement in Tennessee are celebrating a major accomplishment: the recovery of 150 missing children. Operation Volunteer Strong—a collaboration between the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, US Marshals Service, and Tennessee Department of Children's Services—launched Jan. 4 with the goal to find 240 missing children across the state. The results were "miraculous," Rep. Tim Burchett tells WVLT. In all, 150 children were found "during two-week blitzes in each of Tennessee's three grand regions," the TBI said in a Wednesday release, per the Nashville Tennesseean. Eight children were recovered out of state. One child was rescued during an active kidnapping attempt, while five others are suspected victims of human trafficking, per Fox News. Most will now receive DCS support, including possible placement into foster homes, per the release.
John Clark, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which assisted the operation, says it's "a great example of how working together, we can find missing children and get them the help they need to move forward." In October, Virginia's Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said more than 440 children had been taken "out of harm's way" in similar operations in 2020. That included the recovery of 70 children across Ohio and 39 children in Georgia. TBI Director David Rausch notes hundreds of children go missing in Tennessee each month. But this should "serve notice to those who prey on society's most vulnerable that these children are not forgotten," Tyreece Miller, US Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee, said Wednesday. "Investigations will continue and the next knock at the door could be for you." (Read more missing child stories.)