Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine are being hailed as heroes after saving a girl who had been abducted from a family member’s home.
Merrick and Antoine were working on their trash route when they spotted the car, about which they received an amber alert, a Gray 2012 Nissan Altima, in which the police say a 10-year-old girl was kidnapped last night.
The girl Jalisa Lasalle had gone missing from a family member’s home on Sunday between 1 and 2 pm. An Amber Alert was issued later that night, she was found safe this morning thanks to Merrick and Antoine. Investigators believed that Jalisa was in “imminent danger.” According to KATC, an amber alert detailed a gray 2020 Nissan Altima that Jesila had been seen getting into.
Pelican Waste workers Merrick and Antoine were on their route when they saw a silver sedan in the middle of a field about 30 kilometers away in St. Martin Parish.
They were quick on their feet and used the garbage truck to block the car from escaping and called 911. “I blocked the truck in making sure he couldn’t get out.”
Dion Merrick shared a live video on Facebook saying that he spotted a car in a field while working on his route.
“People act like they see stuff, but they don’t say nothing. But she’s safe now. Thank God man, because I got a little girl. I’m on my job doing what I got to do,” Dion said. After an officer complimented them for their actions, Dion Merrick began to tear up.
In the video, the suspect Michael Sereal can be seen yelling “why are you doing this to me?” as he was escorted to a police car.
At the time Jalisa was last seen, she was getting into a gray 2012 Nissan Altima. The suspect Michael Sereal, 33 if New Iberia is currently being held at the Iberia Parish Jail without bond on charges of aggravated kidnapping of a child and failure to register as a sex offender. It is unclear that Seral has retained an attorney.
Initially, no amber alert was issued because there was no license plate number or any specific description of the vehicle she was in. Several hours later when police received a license plate number and description of the vehicle, and an Amber alert was issued.
According to Louisiana State Police, Jalisa was evaluated by medical officials after she was found, a photo shared on the sanitation company’s Facebook page following the rescue shows Jalisa posing next to Merrick and Antoine.
“”JALISA FOND SAFE!!! New Iberia police posted on Facebook.
Pelican CEO Poddie Matherne hailed the actions of his employees in a statement to ABC News: “We couldn’t be prouder of Dion and Brandon,” Matherne said in an email. “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].
Pelican Waste Debris has organized a fundraiser for Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine for their heroic acts that led to the safe return of 10-year-old Jalisa. So far 18 people have donated and $635 has been raised for the noble cause.