Two sanitation workers in Louisiana have been honored as heroes after saving a 10-year-old girl who’d been kidnapped while doing their morning pickup. The victim, Jalisa Lasalle, had been abducted from a family member’s home in New Iberia on the afternoon of Sunday, February 7. Thankfully, Pelican Waste & Debris workers Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine came to her rescue the next morning, ABC News reports.
- New Iberia Police Department had issued an amber alert for Lasalle’s return. The department believed the little girl was in “imminent danger” and urged the public to keep an eye out for a gray 2012 Nissan Altima, the vehicle the little girl was last seen in.
- The next morning, Merrick and Antoine saw something strange. While doing their routine Monday morning garbage pickup, the pair thought it was odd when they saw a silver sedan just sitting in the middle of a field in St. Martin Parish. In a video posted to Facebook Live, Merrick recalled: “Something told me … I said, what’s that car doing off in the field like that?”
- The sanitation workers quickly sprung into action. They used their garbage truck to block the car from leaving the field and called police, who rushed to the scene, where they found the 10-year-old safe and unharmed, much to everyone’s relief. Merrick was especially invested as he also has a little girl of his own.
- Merrick and Antoine’s employer couldn’t be more proud of the men. “We couldn’t be prouder of Dion and Brandon. In fact, All of our Pelican Waste team have been heroically working without fail during the pandemic quietly, professionally, and consistently serving the communities where we collect garbage & debris. They often respond in other ways while on the road. This was an exceptional thing that may very well have saved a little girl’s [life],” said Pelican CEO Roddie Matherne.
- Michael Sereal, 33, was arrested and charged with the girl’s abduction. Sereal, who is understood to be an acquaintance of one of Lasalle’s family members, was charged with aggravated kidnapping of a child and failure to register as a sex offender as stipulated in a previous conviction for carnal knowledge of a child. He’s currently being held at Iberia Parish Jail without bond, KATC reports.
Iberia Parish Jail