A 16-year-old girl found recently in Carroll County was among 39 missing children recovered in a statewide, two-week operation called “Operation Not Forgotten.”
The U.S. Marshals Service located the children between Atlanta and Macon. The service worked in conjunction with the agency’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and Georgia state and local agencies.
“Operation Not Forgotten” resulted in the rescue of 26 children, the safe location of 13 others, and the arrest of nine criminal associates. One of the children authorities said, was recovered in Carroll County.
Details of the case were not released, however, officials at the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed that the girl was believed to be a victim of sex trafficking.
“These missing children were considered to be some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as victimization of child sex trafficking, child exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and medical or mental health conditions,” according to a release from the Marshals Service. “Other children were located at the request of law enforcement to ensure their wellbeing. USMS investigators were able to confirm each child’s location in person and assure their safety and welfare.”
It is unclear whether or not the girl was intended to be trafficked into the county, or if she was only traveling through Carroll County.
Of the children recovered, 15 were identified as victims of trafficking. The other children were victims of parental kidnappings, or those who had absconded from custody of the Division of Family and Children Services or Department of Juvenile Justice, and were believed to be in danger or critically missing, according to the Marshals Service.
A majority of the children were runaways who fell into the human trafficking realm, according to the Service, and 26 of the children were critically missing, so the marshal’s assistance was requested so that so they could be returned to their proper custodians.
In addition to a recovery in Carroll County, recoveries were made across the state and nationwide, including eight children recovered in Fulton County, four in Muscogee County, three in Bibb County, three in Cobb County, three in DeKalb County, two in Clayton County, two in Rockdale County, one in Bartow County, and one each in Gwinnett, Harris, Lumpkin, Pickens, Polk, and Sumter counties.
There was also one child recovered in South Carolina, one in Tennessee, one in Oklahoma, one in Florida, one in Kentucky, and one in Michigan.
Nine arrests were made in the investigation:
Moradeyo Amos Bandele , arrested in Port St. Lucy, FL for a warrant for rape out of Conyers.
Trayon Moore, Dekalb County, for sex trafficking and probation violation warrants.
James Garcia, arrested at a motel in Clearwater, Florida, for warrants out of Whitfield County, for aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and incest with a minor.
Faye Smith, arrested at a motel in Clearwater for a warrant for probation violation.
Sally Garcia, arrested at a motel in Clearwater for interference with child custody.
Zachary Bailey, arrested in Columbus, for human trafficking, enticing of a minor for indecent purposes, and enticement of a minor for solicitation.
Stanson Causey, arrested in Jasper, a registered sex offender arrested for probation violation.
Kirk Waters, arrested in Newton County, Georgia, for felon in possession of a firearm.
Trevonte Shareef, arrested in Newton County for interference with custody and obstruction.