CLAIM: Law enforcement found 39 missing children in a double-wide trailer in Georgia.
THE FACTS: A law enforcement operation in August did locate 39 children in Georgia over a two week period, but the children were not all found in one trailer or in a single location.
On August 27, the U.S, Marshals Service announced the completion of a two-week operation that located 39 children in Macon, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area. During “Operation Not Forgotten,” the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies rescued 26 children and arrested nine people. Law enforcement also located an additional 13 children who had previously been reported missing, and confirmed the children were with the proper custodian.
Posts on social media distorted some facts of the operation. “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?” reads a post that has been widely shared and copied on Facebook. But the children were not all found in a double-wide trailer or even in a single location or on a single date, said Dave Oney, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service.
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“The children were found in a variety places — houses, hotel rooms,” Oney told the AP. Other children were located in apartments and “even on the streets,” according to Darby Kirby, chief inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit. Neither Oney or Darby were able to confirm if any of the children had been located in a trailer. Oney said some of the children had been missing for a few days while others had been missing for a couple of years.
“Fifteen of the children were identified as victims of trafficking. The other children were victims of parental kidnappings, children who absconded from the Division of Family and Children Services, Department of Juvenile Justice custody, and were believed to be in danger or critically missing,” reads a statement Oney provided to the AP.
While social media posts suggest the story about the children found in the trailer is not getting enough attention, that is because the claim about the trailer is false. Operation Not Forgotten was covered by many media outlets, including The Associated Press, CNN, CBS and others.
— Associated Press writer Jude Joffe-Block reported this item from Phoenix.