NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An average of 500 to 600 kids under the age of 18 are reported missing each month in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said many of those cases involve parental abductions or runaways.
The TBI said, over a two-day period, they worked to make contact with 24 at-risk children in the Knoxville area, as part of a multi-agency operation that took place two weeks ago.
It’s called “Operation Not Forgotten,” and its approach was to locate and make contact with these children who had a history of running away from home for long periods of time, or who were previous victims of human trafficking.
The goal was to remove them from any situation where they may be exploited and focus on providing them with services, contacts, and a safe environment.
Of the 24 at-risk children, 12 were found during Operation Not Forgotten.
Over the next few weeks, the TBI said the agencies will continue trying to find those at-risk children who were not found during the operation and will continue to stay in contact with the children who were found.
Operation Not Forgotten was the second operation of its kind in Tennessee, but many other children remain missing in our state.
As of December, there are at least 30 children whose whereabouts are still unknown in Tennessee.
Some, like 17-year-old Olivia Carroll, were reported missing as little as a week ago, while others have been missing since 2008, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
However, the children listed by the TBI only represent a portion of kids missing in the state.
The TBI says an average of 500 to 600 kids under the age of 18 go missing each month in Tennessee, but those are only the cases reported, so many other cases go unreported, yet still remain missing.
Of those 30 children still missing as of December, 11 of them are from Middle Tennessee.
For one family, the month of December marked a full year since they last saw their child. Alex Ac’Chen, 17, was last seen in Nashville in December of last year.
At least two other missing children’s cases have gone unresolved for nearly a year; 16-year-olds Dareeyus Jones-Hardin and Litzy Garcia were both reported missing from our area in February 2022.
The TBI said the public plays a valuable role in helping locate missing children. Below is a full list of the 30 children who were still missing as of December:
If you have information about any of the children listed, contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or firstname.lastname@example.org. There are also several unsolved cold cases involving kids in Tennessee. For a list of unsolved missing children’s cases dating back up to 40 years, click here.