Two sanitation workers from New Iberia Parish, Louisiana, just saved an abducted girl’s life after blocking the perpetrator’s vehicle with their garbage truck.
Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine were working their trash route the morning of February 8 when they spotted the car described in an Amber Alert issued by the police about a 10-year-old girl who was taken the night before.
“Something told me, ‘Just look.’ I said ‘What’s that car doing way ducked off in in the field like that?’’’ Dion said.
“And he was like, ‘B, you know what I just saw… man, that looks like that silver Nissan on the Amber Alert,’” Brandon recalled.
The kid was reported missing Sunday night, and the Amber Alert was issued later that evening. The girl was found safe, thanks to these Pelican Waste and Debris sanitation workers who immediately reported what they saw.
Dion posted a live stream on Facebook after seeing the car in a field about 20 miles away in St. Martin Parish.
“People act like they see stuff but they don’t want to 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 says.
He called 911 upon seeing the vehicle and used his truck to keep the suspect from escaping.
“I talked to the 911 operator and she basically told me it would be about a minute before a deputy was going to be on the scene,” Dion said.
A law enforcement officer thanks him for calling and tells him he’ll need some information from him before he leaves the scene.
The suspect can be seen being led away and taken to a police car while he shouts, “Why are you doing this to me?”
As for the girl, police said she was found in St. Martin Parish and has already been evaluated by medical personnel. The suspect, a 33-year-old man, is being held without bond in the Iberia Parish Jail and charged with aggravated kidnapping of a child and failure to register as a sex offender, according to online jail records.
It is unknown if he has retained an attorney.
According to the police, the girl disappeared from a relative’s home between 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
She was believed to be in imminent danger, so the State Police issued an alert. They weren’t able to issue it immediately as they didn’t have the license plate number or a specific description of a vehicle, which are both required for such an alert to be issued.
However, several hours later, they were able to give out an Amber Alert after receiving the necessary information.
Troopers say the girl was last seen getting into a gray 2012 Nissan Altima. The suspect turned out to be an acquaintance of one of the girl’s family members.
The suspect is listed on New Iberia’s sex offender database and was convicted in 2016 of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
In a statement to ABC News, Pelican CEO Roddie Matherne commended his employees for their heroic act.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Dion and Brandon,” he wrote 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].”
The girl is now safe, thanks to these sanitation workers who swiftly took action. They deserve to be recognized for their heroic deed! Share this story with your friends and family.