Brandon Antoine and Dion Merrick, employees of Pelican Waste, are being hailed as heroes after their quick thinking led authorities to find the kid close to St. Martin Parish on Monday.
“I feel blessed just to find her alive and everything,” Merrick said. “It’s just a wonderful feeling.”
Merrick and Antoine were working their shift early Monday when they noticed a car matching the description of a sedan in an Amber Alert they received the day before. After recognizing the vehicle, they pulled over their garbage truck on the wrong side of the freeway to block the car and dialed 911. Merrick documented a part of the encounter on Facebook Live and captured police taking a man into custody.
“Something told me like just look, I said ‘what is that car doing in that field like that?’… Guess what, that’s the dude with the little girl,” Merrick stated in his video. “That’s God.”
The suspect has been identified as Michael Roy Sereal, age 33, and he was arrested for aggravated kidnapping, police stated. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department’s online sex offender registry has a Michael Roy Sereal, however, police would not verify the man arrested was him, WWL reported. The station also reported Sereal was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and is being held without bond in the Iberia Parish Jail.
Merrick is a Navy veteran and a father of two kids, ages 13 and 11. He said he had an obligation to protect the girl.
“It was just one of those things you just had to do,” he mentioned. “It was a little girl from the community.”
Antoine, who is also a father, said the moment police took the girl from the car was special for him. Even without realizing what could happen, he said they had a “mindset” to get her to safety.
Both of them received a shoutout from their company and a neighborhood police chief offered to buy them lunch. In Merrick’s video, hundreds of comments praised the pair for their heroic act.
“It’s a blessing,” Antoine said. “All over the world, I love it.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.