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Two Courageous Sanitation Workers Saved A 10-Year-Old Girl Who Had Been Abducted

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Garbage removal men working for a public utility emptying trash container

Two Lousiana sanitation workers were hailed for being heroes after heroically rescuing a young girl who'd been in danger.

In February 2021, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, who work for Pelican Waste & Debris, had been driving along their usual route when they came upon a suspicious car and took it upon themselves to save a young girl.

Merrick and Antoine courageously saved a 10-year-old girl who had been abducted.

On February 7, 2021, New Iberia police issued an Amber Alert for a 10-year-old girl who had been abducted from a family's home. People were told to keep a lookout for both her and the abductor, Michael Sereal, who was last seen driving a silver Nissan Altima. 

A day later, Merrick and Antoine, along with other sanitation workers, remained alert during their morning shifts, and a few hours into their usual route, Merrick and Antoine came upon the vehicle in question parked in the middle of a field. Merrick, who posted the entire ordeal on a Facebook livestream, immediately leaped into action.

"I just saw this gray car parked in the field," Merrick said in a Facebook Live video, according to 4WWL. "I just saved that little girl's life bro. I just saved that little girl's life, thank God."

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"Something told me, like just look, I said what is that car doing in that field like that? What the car doing? Guess what, that's the dude with the little girl," he continued. "That's God." 

After recognizing the car, Merrick told Antoine to pull the garbage truck onto the wrong side of the highway to block the vehicle. From there, they called 911 and relayed all of this information to the dispatcher. It took less than a minute for police to arrive at the scene.

Police proceeded to arrest the suspect and rescue the little girl who'd been kidnapped.

In his Facebook Live video, Merrick detailed the arrival of police deputies, who led the suspect into custody. He was identified as being 33-year-old Michael Roy Sereal and he was arrested for aggravated kidnapping, police said, according to CBS News.

The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Department's online sex offender registry has a Michael Roy Sereal listed, though police did not confirm he was the man arrested. It was also reported that Sereal was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and was held without bond in the Iberia Parish Jail.

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The little girl was immediately rescued and reunited with her family following the entire ordeal.

Merrick, a 39-year-old father of two and U.S. Navy veteran who'd been working for the sanitation company for less than three months, admitted that he didn't think twice about wanting to help the young girl.

"I didn't want anything to happen to her," he told NBC News. "We're all from the same town. We're a big community, it might be a small town, but we're a close-knit community so I had to do what I had to do for my community."

Both Merrick and Antoine have since been in touch with the 10-year-old girl's family, who have also expressed their gratitude and joy for the help of two strangers. 

"I'm just so happy and blessed that I actually seen the car and we actually responded like we were supposed to respond," Merrick said. "Don't be scared if you see something. If you know something is wrong, report it. Call authorities because it could save someone's life."

Merrick and Antoine's heroic moment acts as a reminder to each and every one of us that we have the potential to make a difference in someone's life and do the right thing when we come across nefarious intentions to harm an innocent life. Their compassion and bravery saved a 10-year-old girl and embodied the inspiration of standing up for what's right and helping to protect those in our communities.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.