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USMS Recognizes National Missing Children’s Day

For immediate release

Office of Public Affairs

(703) 740-1699

Washington, DC - May 25, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) recognized National Missing Children’s Day, established to honor the commitment to child safety and the importance of locating and protecting missing children. 

The U.S. Marshals Service is fully committed to assisting federal, state, and local agencies with locating and recovering endangered missing children, in addition to their primary fugitive apprehension mission.

In 2023, the USMS, along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and state and local agencies in 16 federal judicial districts and 15 geographical locations across the U.S., led a 10-week national operation that resulted in the recovery or safe location of 225 endangered missing children, which includes runaways and those abducted by non-custodial persons.

Operation We Will Find You was the first nationwide missing child operation focused on geographical areas with high clusters of critically missing children.  

In May 2015, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) was passed and clarified the USMS’ discretionary authority to support law enforcement requests for assistance on any missing child cases. As such, the USMS assists state, local, and other federal law enforcement agencies, upon request, in locating and recovering missing children, while focusing agency resources on “critically missing child” cases – those that involve a suspected crime of violence or where law enforcement identifies factors indicate an elevated risk to a missing child.

In 2016, the USMS Missing Child Unit (MCU) was established within the Sex Offender Investigations Branch to manage JVTA implementation. The MCU develops and manages training, guidance, and enforcement initiatives as well as provides overall oversight of the program. The MCU is in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and assists with missing child case information sharing.

While the mission is dependent on available district and regional task force resources, the USMS investigative skill set provides a unique ability to assist federal, state, and local partners in recovering our communities’ most vulnerable children and return them to safe guardianship. 

According to the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC), there were 375,304 reported entries for missing children in 2023.  In comparison to the FBI’s count in 2022, the total number of missing children in NCIC has decreased by 16,210.

In Fiscal Year 2023, the USMS contributed to the location or recovery of 495 missing children, an approximate 16% increase over FY22.

Since the passage of the JVTA in 2015, the USMS has contributed to the location or recovery of 3,653 (as of May 28) missing children. 

The USMS received 845 missing child cases in FY23, resulting in an approximate 50% increase from the 562 missing child cases received in FY22.

In FY23, the USMS assisted in resolving 11 missing child investigations in which the child was located outside of the United States.

Of the missing children recovered from July 2015 to September 2023, 61% were recovered within seven days of USMS assistance being provided in the case.

Since 2015, the USMS has directly contributed to the location or recovery of a missing child in 66% of the missing child cases supported by the agency.

Our message to missing children and their families is that we will never stop looking for you!

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


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