Eight missing/endangered children were rescued and 18 sex offenders have been arrested in U.S. Marshals Service operations.
U.S. Marshals Service Eastern District of Louisiana New Orleans Task Force (USMS)-led, operations Missing Child Unit (MCU) ‘Return of the School Year’ and Sex Offender Investigations Branch (SOIB) ‘NO Saints and Sinners 2021’ conducted in the New Orleans, Louisiana metro area ran from Aug. 1st until Sept. 30, resulting in the rescue or recovery of 8 missing/endangered children. An additional 3 children self-returned during the operation and 3 more were located.
MCU Investigations led to recoveries in Phoenix, Arizona where a female teen was in route to Las Vegas, NV to meet up with an older adult male she met on the internet. Two recoveries were made in a rural area of southern Mississippi. One arrest was made in St. Bernard Parish involving an adult family member of the missing/endangered teen. A rifle stolen out of New Orleans was recovered in Tangipahoa Parish on Aug. 27 during one of the MCU investigations that also involves possible gang activity. Investigations as part of the two-month MCU operation also uncovered allegations of human sex trafficking of minors during several of the cases.
The USMS SOIB Operation NO Saints and Sinners 2021, a sex offender enforcement and compliance check operation resulted in the arrests of 18 sex offenders for sex offender registration violations. 46 sex offender compliance checks were done during the operation with 33 verified compliant, 3 verified as being noncompliant, and 10 needing further investigation. These checks were done in both Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.
One sex offender, Joseph Edward Cantrell, who had been in violation of his registration in Georgia since at least 2017 and having three prior convictions involving children was located living in the Central Business District of New Orleans and was arrested on a LA State Police felony warrant for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Another lifetime registration sex offender from Delaware, Roman E. Byler, having two prior felony sex-based convictions with juveniles was located unregistered and living in New Orleans on Aug. 23 in a high drug trafficking area walking with another male with a history of criminal activities. Byler was wanted out of Delaware on an August felony warrant related to cutting off his Electronic Monitor (EM) and fleeing his Delaware Probation based on a prior DE conviction for rape 4th degree sexual penetration of a victim less than 16 years of age. Fugitive Tier 3 sex offender, Gerald Dominick, who’s original sex-based conviction involved a female teenage victim was wanted on a LA State Police warrant for felony failure to register as a Sex Offender issued in July 2020. Dominick was residing in Westwego, LA and attempted to hide in a bedroom prior to his arrest by LA State Police. Information developed by the USMS Sex Offender Targeting Team assisted LA State Police in locating him.
Additionally, the SOIB operation resulted in the arrest of six additional fugitives to include an adult male wanted by New Orleans Police on a September warrant for sexual battery on a 7-year-old victim, another adult male on a New Orleans Police Department warrant for two counts of production of child porn on a 14-year-old female victim that was related to a prior USMS MCU case, and an adult male on a July Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Capias based on a Grand Jury indictment for aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping that occurred in 1989 but the suspect was recently identified via a DNA hit. That fugitive had recently been released from prison and was already considered a habitual offender and lifetime sex offender registration (Tier 3) based on a prior Forcible Rape and Burglary conviction.
New Orleans was one of the original U.S. cities to begin a USMS pilot program for the Missing Child Unit in 2016, and U.S. Marshals Service Eastern District of Louisiana Deputy U.S. Marshals have provided instruction to other USMS districts and state agencies on how to coordinate their MCU operations, which have gained national news attention within the last two years.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 enhanced USMS authority to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement with the recovery of missing, endangered or abducted children, regardless of whether a fugitive or sex offender was involved. The USMS established its Missing Child Unit to oversee and manage the implementation of its enhanced authority under the act. In fiscal year (FY) 2021, the USMS New Orleans Task Force recovered 43 missing/endangered children or family abductions. An additional 16 children self-returned during the investigation and 5 children were recovered via other efforts.
“This was another example of the results that can be accomplished with continuing law enforcement teamwork, and I am very proud of the long-term partnerships created by our USMS New Orleans Task Force with other local, state and federal agencies in combating violent crime and recovering missing/endangered children, said U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana Scott Illing. “Much of this work was also accomplished while dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in the New Orleans metro area.”
Participants in the two Operations: “Return of the School Year” and “NO Saints and Sinners 2021” included:
- U.S. Marshals Service New Orleans Task Force
- U.S. Marshals Service Districts of Southern Mississippi and Arizona
- New Orleans Police Department
- Slidell Police Department
- Covington Police Department
- Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
- St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office
- Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office
- Louisiana State Police
- FBI New Orleans Field Office
- Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services
Any information about missing/endangered children should be reported to your local police department and or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost. Information about violent fugitives can be provided to the U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6872, via email at [email protected], or with the USMS tips app. Crimestoppers GNO may also be contacted with tips at (504) 822-1111.