In a harrowing Facebook Live broadcast Monday, one Louisiana sanitation worker heaped praise on God for helping him save a 10-year-old girl from a registered sex offender whom police believe had abducted her a day earlier.
Dion Merrick, a trash truck driver for Pelican Waste & Debris, said he was on his regular route with his coworker, Brandon Antoine, when he saw a gray 2012 Nissan Altima parked out in a field.
“There was a dude who had this little 10-year-old girl,” he said. “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.”
“I was just doing my job and actually came across somebody that needed help,” the man continued. “I’m teared up right now, for real. I’d had never thought [to look]. … Whoever’s 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. Thank God, bruh. That’s why I saw that Man is real. A lot of people don’t believe in Him, but you [need] to start believing in Him, cuz.”
The New Iberia Police Department issued an Amber Alert for the little girl — Jasila Lasalle — on Sunday, when she was taken from a family member’s home. Authorities said at the time Jasila was in “imminent danger.”
Thirty-three-year-old Michael Sereal, convicted in 2006 of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and a registered sex offender, was driving the sedan.
Merrick was able to position his trash truck so it blocked Sereal from driving away. Once police arrived on the scene, they took him into custody. The assailant, reportedly an acquaintance of Jasila’s family, is now being held without bond on charges of aggravated kidnapping and failure to register as a sex offender.
The heroic sanitation worker said he just felt “something” telling him to look over into the field where he found the child and Sereal.
Pelican Waste & Debris CEO Roddie Matherne told ABC News he and his team “couldn’t be prouder” of Merrick and Antoine.
“In fact, all of our Pelican Waste team have been heroically working without fail during the pandemic, quietly, professionally, and consistently servicing the communities where we collect garbage and debris. They often response 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 set up a GoFundMe account to reward Merrick and Antoine for their brave effort.
Jasila’s father Jermaine Lasalle said he “just can’t thank” Merrick and Antoine “enough” for their incredible action.
Officials familiar with the case said Jasila was evaluated by medical personnel after Merrick found her, though details of her condition have not been released.