At 1:30 am on Monday an AMBER Alert was issued in the south of Louisiana regarding a 10-year-old girl from New Iberia who was believed to have been abducted and taken away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.
A few hours afterwards at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, employed by Pelican Waste as sanitation workers, were on their normal route when they observed a vehicle that matched the alert's description.
Sanitation workers had a feeling that something wasn't right when they noticed a silver sedan alone in a field St. Martin Parish.
Merrick later posted a Facebook Live video, saying, "i didn't second guess, it i say for that car to be parked in this location and it matches the description on the amber alert something is not right." This video has since been viewed by more than 1.5 million people since Monday morning.
In order to stop the potential abductor from fleeing, Merrick stated that they had positioned the massive rubbish truck in the wrong direction on the highway, thus ensuring that they had no avenue for escape. Following this, they phoned the police.
The police came and arrested Michael R. Sereal, the car that was included in the AMBER Alert. The girl was rescued safely, with no visible harm. Subsequently, she was conveyed to the hospital and examined by medical professionals.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Department has a Michael Roy Sereal listed on their online sex offender registry, but they couldn't verify if it was the same man.
The young girl's family have voiced their profound appreciation to the two heroes. Merrick said "I'm really excited and thankful that I recognized the car and acted as we should have" Merrick desires to motivate others to take action if something seems off. As he stated, "Don't be scared if you notice something. If you believe something is not right, report it, it could possibly save someone's life."
After the 1996 abduction and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman in Texas, the AMBER Alert system was created. Of the cases it has been used for, almost seven out of 10 have resulted in the successful reunification of children with their parents. Additionally, 17% of the time, the rescue of the child has been attributed to the alert. In total, since its implementation, 1,029 children have been reunited with their families due to the system.