Heroic sanitation workers save kidnapped girl from sex offender

New Iberia, Louisiana - These heroes were at in the right place at the right time: two sanitation workers in Louisiana used their garbage truck to stop a kidnapper and save a 10-year-old girl.

Pelican Waste & Debris workers Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine saved a 10-year-old girl who had been kidnapped.
Pelican Waste & Debris workers Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine saved a 10-year-old girl who had been kidnapped.  © Pelican Waste & Debris/Facebook

The girl went missing from a family member's home in New Iberia, Louisiana, on Sunday afternoon, according to ABC News.

Amid fears Jalisa was in "imminent danger," the police put out an Amber Alert in the middle of the night, urging locals to look out for a gray 2012 Nissan Altima the girl had been seen getting into.

When Pelican Waste & Debris employees Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine set out on their usual pick-up route that morning and spotted a silver sedan parked in a field, they immediately sensed something was off.

"Something told me… I said, what’s that car doing off in the field like that?" Merrick said in a Facebook Live video from the scene.

"Guess what, that’s the dude with the little girl," he continued.

The two acted quickly and blocked the road with their truck to prevent the suspect's car from getting away, while they called the police and waited for the officers to arrive.

Merrick and Antoine can then be seen talking to the police while the authorities arrest the suspect, Michael Sereal (33).

"She's safe right now," Merrick said, choking up on tears, adding that he has a daughter of his own.

"I was just doing my job, man. I was just doing my job and actually came across somebody who needed help," Merrick continued. "Thank God they got him now."

Employer "couldn't be prouder" of workers

Sereal has been charged with aggravated kidnapping of a child and failure to register as a sex offender, according to jail records. He is a sex offender who was convicted of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 2006, according to Louisiana's registry.

The child was evaluated by medical personnel, authorities said. A photo shared on the company's Facebook page following the rescue shows her next to Merrick and Antoine.

Meanwhile, social media users have been hailing the two workers as heroes.

"Thank u for saving that baby girl. My daughter has been missing for 22 years. We need more people like you," one commented.

Pelican CEO Roddie Matherne said in a statement to ABC that the company couldn't be prouder of Antoine and Merrick: "This was an exceptional thing that may very well have saved a little girl’s [life]."

Cover photo: Pelican Waste & Debris/Facebook

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