On Monday, one Louisiana sanitation worker thanked God for helping him save a 10-year-old girl after she was abducted by a registered sex offender the previous day.
“I was on my trash route ... I just seen this gray car parked in the field,” Merrick said on Monday. “There was a dude who had this little 10-year-old girl. I just saved that little girl’s life bruh. Thank God bruh. They got him now. They saved that little girl thanks to two Pelican drivers.”
The girl, Jalisa Lasalle, went missing last Sunday in the 400 block of Fulton Street in New Iberia. The local police then issued an Amber Alert for the girl, noting that she was in imminent danger after she was last seen getting into a gray 2012 Nissan Altima.
The suspect, Michael R. Sereal, 33, of New Iberia, was previously convicted in 2006 for “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” and is also listed on the parish's sex offender database of New Iberia.
The report also noted that Sereal was an acquaintance of one of the girl’s family members.
In Merrick's Facebook live video, he noted that “something” made him look at the field where the grey car was parked. He then recognized that the vehicle, Laselle and Sereal matched the description in the Amber Alert.
“Something told me to just look. I said, `What is that car doing ducked off in the field like that?’” Merrick recalled. He and his co-worker Brandon Antoine immediately took action and prevented the suspect from driving away as they called 911.
“I was just doing my job and actually came across somebody that needed help. I’m teared up right now, for real,” an emotional Merrick said. “I’d had never thought [to look]. … Whoever little girl this is, you need to fall on your knees and tell God thank you. Thank you because it could have been worse.
“‘Cause I’m looking at the situation, if you look at them woods and stuff, anything could have went on,” he continued. “Thank God bruh. That’s why I say that man is real. A lot of people don’t believe in Him but you [need] to start believing in Him cuz,” he said.
Merrick then encouraged other to call the police if they ever “see something that’s not right”.
In a statement to ABC News, Pelican CEO Roddie Matherne praised both sanitation workers for their heroic actions.
"We couldn’t be prouder of Dion and Brandon," Matherne said. "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 and 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].”
Merrick’s Facebook Live video, which was posted early Monday morning, has since garnered over 2 million views.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tony Baggett
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.