CLEVELAND – U.S. Marshals in Cleveland are at the forefront of a national movement to find missing children. Now they’re asking Fox 8 missing person advocate Amanda Berry to help.
Back in August, the U.S. Marshals Service teamed up with local police departments to help safely locate dozens of missing children across Northeast Ohio. They called it “Operation Safety Net,” and it was a huge success.
“We ended up recovering or safely locating 35 entered missing juveniles in that time period,” said Inspector Bill Boldin. “That’s three or four times more than what we’d normally find.”
Based on their success, Boldin and his team have been asked to teach other missing children units what they’ve learned.
“The lessons that we learned from doing this has actually developed into a training program where we’re now assisting other Marshals around the country,” Boldin said. “We’re trying to set up these programs and operations to do an even better job to get out there and find our missing.”
Pete Elliott is the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio. He says “Operation Safety Net” really put Cleveland on the map. “We’re the role model for a lot of different districts in the country, which I’m very proud of. We’re going to continue to go out there to find the missing,” he said.
That’s where Fox 8 missing person advocate Amanda Berry comes into play. “You’re a living example of what’s right,” Elliott told her.
Along with Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, Berry was kidnapped and held captive for years in Cleveland. After their escape, each woman went on to advocate for other victims.
Berry drew on her own experience to create a PSA to play during Marshal training sessions. The message is meant to motivate U.S. Marshals and Deputy Task Force officers working on missing person cases.
“I could have easily fallen through the cracks if it hadn’t been for my mom, who spent day and night trying to get law enforcement to take my case seriously,” Berry said during her recorded message. “But not everyone has a mom as persistent as mine. So please, that’s where you come in. I need you to think of every single case as if it’s your own child.”
“You can be that one person my mom needed. The one there fighting alongside her. The one who never gave up. Thank you to the U.S. Marshals, Deputy Marshals and their partners. I hope you never give up. My mom and I never did.”
The message was well-received by Inspector Boldin. “You’re an example of a positive outcome,” he told Berry. “Your story touched everyone. You’re an inspiration and the reason we do what we do.”
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