Two Louisiana sanitation workers helped police track down a missing 10-year-old girl who had been taken by a registered sex offender, according to authorities.
One of the workers, Dion Merrick, shared on Facebook that he had noticed a gray sedan parked in a field in St. Martin Parish on Monday and recognized it from a police alert about the missing girl.
The New Iberia Police Department issued an alert Sunday night for Jalisa Lasalle, who was believed to be in imminent danger. Police had notified the public that her abductor was last seen driving a Nissan sedan.
Police confirmed on Facebook that a couple of citizens had spotted the car, which was being driven by Michael Sereal. The 33-year-old is a registered sex offender, according to Iberia Parish Sherriff’s Office records.
After recognizing the car, Merrick immediately called 911 and then moved his truck to block the driveway until a deputy arrived.
Sereal was taken into custody by St. Martin Parish deputies and then transferred to the custody of the New Iberia Police Department, authorities said. An arrest warrant was issued for aggravated kidnapping.
“I just saved that little girl’s life,” Merrick said during a Facebook video. “Thank God they got him now.”
State Police said Merrick was an acquaintance of a relative of the girl. However, Sereal had been convicted of carnal knowledge of a juvenile about 15 years ago, according to police records.
“Thank u for saving that baby girl,” one user wrote on Merrick’s Facebook page. “My daughter has been missing for 22 years. We need more people like you.”
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