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News Release

Law Enforcement Officers from 5 States, Washington, D.C. and Mexico City to Receive Recognition from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children


WHAT: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children will recognize outstanding law enforcement professionals for performing above and beyond the call of duty for safely recovering a missing child or successfully resolving a child sexual exploitation case. The annual recognition ceremony occurs each May, in honor of National Missing Children's Day (May 25).

Presenters include:

  • NCMEC CEO John Ryan.
  • NCMEC Board Chairperson Patty Wetterling.
  • Actor Tim Kang, of the CBS TV drama "The Mentalist."  
  • Members of Congress.

WHEN: 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Eastern Time, May 8, 2013

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50, First & C streents, NE Washington, DC 20002

Media who are attending should RSVP by May 6 to media@NCMEC.org or call 703-837-6111.

Below are summaries of each winning entry:

Kansas: Child Abducted from Kansas is Recovered at Homeless Shelter in Oklahoma

Award recipient:

  • Lt. Kelli Bailiff, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas City, Kan.

When 3-year-old Elonah Green was snatched by her mother during a visit with her maternal grandmother, her father reported her missing. Bailiff was assigned the case on September 12, 2012 and entered Elonah in the FBI's National Crime Information Center as a missing child. Bailiff then featured the child’s case on "Child Search," a weekly TV show the lieutenant produces. The program generated more than 73 tips, which led to a search of homeless shelters in Altus, Okla. Bailiff spent countless hours contacting social service divisions and homeless shelters in an attempt to locate the mother and child. Bailiff then learned that the mother had applied for public assistance, yet was unable to get the address. To obtain the mother's location, Bailiff contacted the custody judge in Kansas who wrote a new order requesting Oklahoma authorities' assistance. Nearly two months after being abducted, Elonah was safely recovered from a shelter in southern Oklahoma and reunited with her father. 

Mississippi and Tennessee: Man who Kills Mother and Daughter, Flees with Two Younger Children is Placed on FBI's "10 Most Wanted" List

Award recipients:

  • Sheriff John Doolean, Hardeman County Sheriff's Department
  • Supervisory Special Agent Matthew Dunn, FBI Memphis, Tenn., Division
  • Special Agent Conrad Straube, FBI Memphis, Tenn., Division
  • Special Agent Stephen Lies, FBI Memphis, Tenn., Division
  • Supervisory Special Agent Eric McCraw, FBI Memphis, Tenn., Division
  • Special Agent Christopher Miller, FBI Memphis, Tenn., Division.
  • Special Agent Cathy Ferguson, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
  • Master Sgt. Chad Moore, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
  • Trooper Andrew Sisk, Mississippi Highway Patrol.
  • Master Sgt. Bobby Buse, Guntown Police Department.
  • Sheriff Jimmy Edwards, Union County Sheriff's Department.
  • Captain Al Crawford, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks.

On April 27, 2012, Gary Bain panicked when his wife and three children, ages 8 to 14, didn’t show up at their home in Hardeman County, Tenn. He then reported all four missing. Adam Mayes, a family friend, was the last person to see the mother and girls and became a suspect. The investigation revealed that Mayes and his wife killed the mother and oldest daughter and buried them. Mayes subsequently disappeared with the two younger children, and investigators reached out to law enforcement in nearby states for help. The sheriff’s department requested an AMBER Alert, and Mayes was added to the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list. Authorities suspected that Mayes altered his hair color and the children's. NCMEC's Forensic Imaging Unit changed the missing children's posters to reflect this information and redistributed them to national photo partners. On May 10, 2012, authorities received a tip that the girls were being held in a densely wooded area in Mississippi. Highway patrol officers and state wildlife, fisheries, & parks officers assisted with the search, eventually leading to the rescue of the two girls.  Rather than surrender, Mayes killed himself.

Indiana: Arrest of Indiana Man Leads to Discovery of International Child Pornography Ring

Award recipients:

  • Supervisory Special Agent, James Watson, FBI, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Special Agent Matthew Smith, FBI, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Special Agent Ryan Barrett, FBI, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Victim Specialist Sarah Abdullah, FBI, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Staff Operations Specialist Zachary Miller, FBI, Indianapolis, Ind.

The arrest of a 25-year-old man in Bloomington, Ind., on charges of possessing, producing and distributing hundreds of child pornographic images, would lead to something more ominous: the discovery of an international child pornography ring. The investigation, dubbed "Operation Bulldog," would uncover a new child pornography series and lead investigators to a worldwide pornography file sharing network. Members of this group were rapidly trading images of child pornography involving infants and toddlers. The FBI team then submitted thousands of images to NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program to determine if any of the children in the seized images had been previously identified by law enforcement. The investigation by the FBI resulted in the capture of more than 20 suspects throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Serbia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.K. This investigation also led to the identification and rescue of more than two dozen children. Ring leader David Bostic was convicted on 65 counts of various child pornography charges and sentenced to 315 years in federal prison. This case represented one of the most significant child pornography cases investigated by the FBI in the past two years.

Virginia and Washington, D.C.: Violent Sex Trafficking Street Gang Recruits Teenage Girls in Local Schools

Award recipients:

  • Detective William Woolf III, Fairfax County Police Department
  • Detective Jeanette Wagner, Fairfax County Police Department
  • Special Agent John Nagashima, Washington, D.C. FBI field office.
  • Special Agent Jeffrey Johannes, Washington, D.C. FBI field office.
  • Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant United States Attorney Marc Birnbaum, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia and U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia.
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney Inayat Delawala, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia.

Fairfax County, Va. detectives and the FBI uncovered a gang-controlled sex trafficking ring in which teenage girls were victimized and sexually exploited for financial gain by the "Underground Gangster Crips," a violent street gang. The investigation showed that over a six year period, inside local high schools and via social media networks, gang members and associates attempted to recruit more than 800 teenage girls to work as prostitutes. The gang lured at least eight juvenile girls and several adult women into prostitution, gave them drugs and alcohol to keep them numb and compliant, and controlled them through violent intimidation including chokings, beatings and rape. In March of 2012, five gang members and associates were arrested and charged with sex trafficking of minors. Each defendant was convicted of this offense and sentenced to between 120 and 480 months' imprisonment.

Mexico City: Homeland Security Investigations & Mexican Federal Police Investigations Lead to Arrests of Child Molesters, Traders and Producters of Child Pornography

Award recipient:

  • Special Agent Jason Barry, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations

Special Agent Jason Barry worked closely with the Mexican Federal Police and local investigators to build a multi-agency task force dedicated to investigating cases of child sexual exploitation in Mexico. He carefully selected members of his team and ensured they received the resources and training to successfully investigate these cases.  Barry approached NCMEC and volunteered to be the point of contact for all CyberTipline reports that indicated a suspect and/or child victim was located in Mexico. His team reviewed several thousand CyberTipline reports within a 10-month timeframe, which led to numerous arrests of suspected possessors, traders and producers of child pornography. One of the most egregious cases involved the arrest of 19-year-old Christian Jonas Castillo and the rescue of 10 child victims he abused.  Castillo admitted to sexually molesting and producing child pornography of eight child victims, ranging in age from 3 to 14. Two additional victims were later identified. Castillo was indicted on charges of possessing, transmitting and producing child pornography and on charges of organized crime. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 45 years in prison.

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 on issues related to missing and exploited children, the organization operates the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline which has handled more than 3,762,000 calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 185,000 children. The organization’s CyberTipline has handled more than 1,887,000 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 88,592,000 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 (1-800-843-5678) or visit its website at www.missingkids.com. Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.

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