Sanitation Workers Hailed As Heroes After Rescuing Kidnapped Girl

Photo by PIXNIO under personal & commercial use license (CC0)


Kids love trash day!

Not only do the beloved sanitation workers help us to keep our homes and communities tidy, but they also bring an ear-to-ear smile on eager young girls and boys who can’t wait to see the big trucks lift the can into the air and give a big wave as they pass by the house like clockwork.

But in Louisiana, two sanitation workers did much more than their job description and the world couldn’t be more thankful.

There is nothing more important as a mother than keeping your children safe.

When something happens to them, it is the most horrific feeling a human being can endure.

That is how the mother of a 10-year-old girl must have felt when her daughter was kidnapped from a family member’s home in New Iberia.

According to ABC News, Jalisa Lasalle was taken between 1 and 2pm on a Sunday.

Investigators believed the young girl to be in “imminent danger”, the police report detailed.

An amber alert was quickly released, revealing Jalisa was seen getting into a gray 2012 Nissan Altima in the middle of the night.

How awful!

For all the moms out there who check on your kids ten times a night because of all scary scenarios you imagine while laying in the bed, this story is a literal nightmare.

Hope can quickly diminish when kidnapped children are not found right away, but two unsuspecting heroes gave the greatest gift a parent could ever ask for.

Pelican Waste and Debris sanitation workers in Louisiana, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, knew something was wrong when they saw a vehicle in the middle of an abandoned field.

The site was about 20 miles away from the amber alert town, but it still seemed like a scenario worth investigating.

Merrick said in a Facebook Live video that went viral:

“Something told me … I said, what’s that car doing off in the field like that?”

Most of us would have called a non-emergency number to report the suspicious vehicle on our way to an appointment, but these brave men took it a step further- and we are glad they did.

Merrick used the garbage truck to block the vehicle in the field so it couldn’t escape before police had a chance to see if this was the car in the amber alert.

“I blocked the truck in, [making] sure he couldn’t get out,” he said.

Turns out, the vehicle was the one described in the amber alert, and the girl was still inside!

Merrick teared up among the responding officers, according to ABC News, after finding out the girl was safe.

The incident caused him to think of his own daughter, Merrick shared.

Pelican Waste supervisor, Matherne, said in an email:

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].”

The kidnapper suspect is Michael Sereal, 33, and in the Facebook Live video posted by Merrick you can see a man who is alleged to be Sereal being led away by police in the background while yelling, “Why are you doing this to me?”

Sereal was charged with aggravated kidnapping of a child and failure to register as a sex offender, Yahoo reports.

There are around 350 young people under the age of 21 “abducted by strangers in the United States per year since 2010,” reports Reuters.

Although the odds are low that your child will be kidnapped, it is always a good idea to go over safety measures with your kids.

Tell them never to get into a vehicle with someone (even if you know them) without talking with a parent first.

Warn them that strangers may try to lure them into their vehicle with things that will interest them, but they must refuse them – such as candy, pets, or loved ones.

Everyone is incredibly grateful to the heroic men who took the time and consideration to ensure the safety of the Jalisa.

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