NOTICE: Your browser may not be fully supported by this website. Please go to Browser Support for more information.

News Release

Law Enforcement in Six States and the US Military Honored for Work Involving Missing or Sexually Exploited Children

Extraordinary Efforts by Law Enforcement in the District of Columbia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, and Ramstein Air Base, Germany Recognized as a Part of National Missing Children’s Day

Alexandria, Va., May 23, 2012 –Today, law enforcement officials from around the country were honored for their extraordinary efforts to recover missing children and resolve child sexual exploitation cases at the 17th Annual Congressional Breakfast and National law Enforcement Awards. Hosted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), the event honors exemplary efforts to protect and recover child victims. Federal, state and local officials, as well as members of Congress attended the event which was held on Capitol Hill.

Law enforcement from the District of Columbia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, and Ramstein Air Base in Germany were recognized at the 17th Annual Congressional Breakfast held in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill. The event is held each year to commemorate National Missing Children's Day which is observed on May 25. It is hosted by NCMEC, in partnership with the National Fraternal Order of Police and the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and will be attended by members of Congress, as well as federal, state and local officials

Actor Tim Kang, from the CBS drama “The Mentalist” attended the event this year. Also attending the event was John Walsh, host of Lifetime Television's "America's Most Wanted" and his wife Revé Walsh.

Each year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 each day. “We set aside one day each year to recognize exceptional law enforcement officers who have distinguished themselves by going the extra mile to rescue children and to capture and prosecute criminals who seek to exploit them,” said NCMEC president Ernie Allen. “Our greatest priority as a society is to protect the innocence of our children. The men and women who we honor each year share that goal and have made a real difference.”

A list of Award Recipients Follows:

2012 National Missing Children's Award Recipients

Honorees: Sergeant Terry D. McConnell and Deputy U.S. Marshal Daniel DeVille (Columbus, OH).

Sergeant Terry D. McConnell from the Columbus, OH Division of Police and Deputy U.S. Marshal Daniel DeVille from the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus, OH were honored for their work recovering a young girl who was abducted by her non-custodial mother and the mother's boyfriend when she was 7 years old. For two years, the abductors moved multiple times between four different states in an effort to hide the girl and avoid arrest. McConnell and DeVille led a coordinated investigation, executing numerous search warrants and serving legal process to obtain key information. They followed up on leads in Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia. McConnell and DeVille tracked the abductors by monitoring the activities of their parents. Eventually cell phone and financial records led them to Atlanta, GA where both abductors were arrested and the young girl was safely recovered.

Honoree: Sheriff David Hines (Hanover, VA).

Colonel David Hines, Sheriff of Hanover County, was honored for his work to recover a severely autistic and non-verbal 8-year-old boy, who wandered away from his family during an outing to a Civil War battlefield park. Hines immediately organized a large-scale search. This task was particularly challenging because the area consisted of two miles of trails amid 80 acres of dense woods and Civil War trenches bordering a river. The park is surrounded by property belonging to a mining company with two active quarries. Hines directed a search effort that involved multiple law enforcement agencies and more than 3,500 volunteers. The young boy was safely recovered five days into the search and was in remarkably good health considering the amount of time he had spent out in the elements.

2012 National Exploited Children's Award Recipients

Honorees: Special Agent Leslie Williams (Shreveport, LA) and Special Agent Neil O'Callaghan (Washington, DC).

Special Agent Leslie Williams from Shreveport, LA and Special Agent Neil O'Callaghan from Washington, DC, both with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, were honored for their work on “Operation Delego,” one of the largest and most significant undercover child exploitation investigations of its kind. Operation Delego investigated an Internet forum known as “Dreamboard” where members were actively posting and trading hard-core child pornography involving children as young as infants. “Dreamboard” used sophisticated technology intended to evade detection by law enforcement and had an estimated 600-900 members, based in the U.S. and around the world. The team developed innovative investigative approaches to identify the forum's members and spent thousands of hours reviewing and processing evidence. To date, a total of 72 targets have been indicted as a result of Operation Delego both in the U.S. and abroad. Of the total number indicted, 53 have been arrested; 29 of those in custody have pled guilty. Thus far, 13 have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 20 to 35 years.

Honoree: Special Agent Jess Thompson (Ramstein Air Base, Germany).

Special Agent Jess Thompson with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 13th Field Investigations Squadron at Ramstein Air Base in Germany was honored for his investigation of an Air Force staff sergeant who was engaged in child sexual exploitation and the production of child pornography. The investigation began when a 7-year-old girl reported that the staff sergeant had exposed his genitals to her twice and took pornographic images of her. When questioned by law enforcement he confessed to assaulting additional victims and a review of his computer found 137 images and 16 videos of child pornography that he had produced, along with an additional 2,846 images and 132 videos of child pornography. The thorough investigation included multiple searches, more than 100 interviews, and a total of 27 law enforcement and 18 administrative records checks in three different countries and four states. The investigation led to additional charges for two subjects, criminal intelligence being developed on two subjects, and the arrest of a fifth subject. Authorities prosecuting the fifth subject, who was caught in the act of molesting a child, are seeking life imprisonment. The staff sergeant who was the original focus of the investigation was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Remarkably, his conviction is the Air Force's second non-murder life without parole conviction since the end of World War II.

2012 Law Enforcement Excellence Award Recipients

Honorees: Special Agent Sheila Quick and Special Agent Phillip Stevens (Raleigh, NC); Detective Charles Sole, Kristy Roberts, and Alison Hutchens (Durham, NC); Officer JaShawn Logan (Washington, DC).

Special Agent Sheila Quick and Special Agent Phillip Stevens of the NC State Bureau of Investigation in Raleigh, NC; Detective Charles Sole, Kristy Roberts, and Alison Hutchens of the Durham Police Department in Durham, NC; and Officer Jashawn Logan of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC were honored for their efforts in tracking down the killers of a young woman and a 5-year-old boy. The woman was reported missing when her family was unable to get in touch with her after she moved from Washington, DC to live with a man who led a cult-like group in Durham, North Carolina. The boy and his mother also lived with the man. After a confidential informant told police that the man and his followers had killed an unidentified woman and 5-year-old boy, the team worked to determine the victims' identities. The team conducted a thorough multi-state investigation. The case had a major break when the remains of both victims were located at a house that the cult leader's mother had once rented. Autopsy results revealed that they both died from gunshot wounds and the cult leader's fingerprint was found on tape that was wrapped around the young boy's body. He was arrested and charged with murder along with six other members of his group, including the boy's mother.

Honoree: Special Agent Eric Zimmerman (Salt Lake City, UT)

Special Agent Eric Zimmerman with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Salt Lake City, UT was honored for his work on the development, deployment, and maintenance of technical tools used to combat the online sexual exploitation of children. Zimmerman has developed five peer-to-peer investigative/analytical tools, four investigative tools to assist law enforcement with online covert activity, and one on-scene triage tool. His tools help law enforcement by automatically alerting law enforcement officers to existing undercover contacts on a subject, identifying additional subjects, and providing instant email alerts to law enforcement regarding subjects' online activity. In 2011, the use of these tools led to the rescue of at least 45 children, and the execution of 330 searches and 222 arrests. The FBI and many international law enforcement agencies have adopted Zimmerman's tools as mandatory protocol for certain investigations.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984. Designated by Congress to serve as the nation's clearinghouse, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 3,568,780 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 175,230 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 1,424,930 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 68,962,840 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Copyright © 2017 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. All rights reserved.

This Web site is funded, in part, through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).