“Operation Carolina Homecoming,” a joint law enforcement operation in North Carolina, has led to the recovery of over 150 missing children.

According to a recent press release from the city of Charlotte, the operation “focused on the recovery of missing and runaway juveniles in the Charlotte area where previous efforts to locate them had been unsuccessful.”

During the first four months of the year, over 130 missing and runaway juveniles were recovered through the work of detectives and U.S. marshals.

Following that effort, beginning April 26, “two-person teams consisting of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s (CMPD’s) Missing Person Unit detectives, United States Marshal Service deputies and the Department of Public Safety Missing Persons Unit conducted extensive searches and located 27 more missing juveniles.”

The twelve-day operation ended on May 7 after the successful recovery of over 157 missing children.

According to the press release, “Several of the juveniles were discovered to have been engaged in high-risk activities such as prostitution and narcotics activity, and a few of them were victims of human trafficking.”

In a press conference announcing the success of the operation, Cpt. Joel McNelly said the majority of the recovered juveniles had been missing for at least six months.

“During the time of the actual, more intensive operation, the two weeks of that operation, a list of especially difficult to find juveniles was developed,” Cpt. McNelly said. The focus on these children led to the location of the 27 missing children during the twelve-day operation.

“We did have a really successful operation and we’re proud of what we were able to do for the community through this.”

Cpt. McNelly added that there were no arrests as a part of the operation. However, because several people were involved in human trafficking activities, several leads were created and they “will certainly be followed up and investigated.”

Additional partners in the operation included Atrium Health Levine Children’s, Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, the North Carolina ISAAC Fusion Center and Mecklenburg County Child Protective Services.

Law enforcement officers have a tough job, made tougher by the pressing and important nature of their work. The safe recovery of hundreds of missing children may be one of the most important parts their efforts.

Please pray for the 157 recovered children, that God may grant them a stable environment and a secure home. And pray for each law enforcement official involved, that they may be blessed for their hard work and may be given the courage to continue to carry out their job well.

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