Two Louisiana sanitation workers are being hailed as heroes after they helped save a kidnapped 10-year-old girl while out on their route on Monday (February 8).
Pelican Waste & Debris workers Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine were out on their route when they noticed a silver sedan parked in the middle of a field, which struck Merrick as odd. At the time, there was an Amber Alert for 10-year-old Jalisa Lasalle, who was kidnapped from a family member’s home in New Iberia on Sunday. She was last seen getting into a gray 2012 Nissan Altima.
Merrick thought to block in the sedan with his garbage truck while he called the police, who safely recovered Jalisa Lasalle from the vehicle. The driver was identified as Michael Sereal, who is reportedly an acquaintance of one of the girl’s family members. He had previously been registered in the New Iberia sex offender database because of a “conviction of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.” Sereal was arrested on charges of aggravated kidnapping of a child and failure to register as a sex offender. He is being held without bond.
Pelican CEO Roddie Matherne released a statement applauding Merrick and Antoine’s actions, stating, “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].”