Since October 2020, the U.S. Marshals in Iowa have been partnering with federal, state and local agencies in a joint operation dubbed Operation Homecoming, focused on recovering vulnerable, critically missing children across the state, and as of March 23, U.S. Marshals have located 21 juveniles and have directly recovered seven children.
Both the northern and southern districts of Iowa worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Missing Persons Clearinghouse to look for and recover the children, who were all between the ages of 4 and 17, and are some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases in the area, based on indications of high-risk factors such as exposure to narcotics, child exploitation, physical or sexual abuse, and medical or mental health conditions.
Operation Homecoming led to Marshals locating missing Iowa children in nine different states across the U.S., including Arizona, Nebraska, Minnesota, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana.
The operation also resulted in the arrests of two individuals, the seizure of illegal narcotics, the seizure of two firearms, and four independent human trafficking investigations, which have been referred to the appropriate investigative agencies for further valuation.
U.S. Marshals in Iowa are still looking for Fredrick Workman, 15, last seen in Des Moines in August 2013, and are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to his location. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to contact NCMEC at 1-800-843-5678 or visit their Cyber Tipline at www.missingkids.org.
The U.S. Marshals primary responsibility to protect the federal judiciary is followed closely by a variety of priority missions like apprehending violent fugitives, investigating noncompliant sex offenders, and the sale of forfeited assets. Added to these responsibilities in 2015 was the mission to investigate/locate/recover critically missing juveniles. In 2015, with the signing of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, the USMS was granted discretionary authority to support law enforcement requests to assist in locating and recovering missing children. Since the passage of the JVTA in 2015, the USMS has contributed to the recovery of more than 1,750 missing children.
“The goal of our involvement with missing child cases is not only to safely recover Iowa’s missing children, but also to aid our local and state partners who work these cases daily,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal Scott Cannon, Missing Child Investigations Coordinator for the Southern District of Iowa. “The Marshals Service is uniquely suited to provide assistance based on our expertise as the premier agency in tracking fugitives. We can use some of the same skill sets in recovering missing children as we use during fugitive investigations.”