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Louisiana sanitation worker leads police to missing girl

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS VIDEO

  • COURTESY IBERIA PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE
                                Michael R. Sereal, 33, was taken into custody and an arrest warrant was issued for aggravated kidnapping.

    COURTESY IBERIA PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE

    Michael R. Sereal, 33, was taken into custody and an arrest warrant was issued for aggravated kidnapping.

NEW IBERIA, La. >> A sanitation worker on his trash route through southern Louisiana helped police rescue a missing 10-year-old girl who had been last seen getting into a car with a registered sex offender, authorities said.

Sanitation worker Dion Merrick said he noticed a gray sedan parked in a field in St. Martin Parish on Monday and recognized it from a Louisiana State Police alert about the missing girl.

The agency had issued the alert Sunday night saying the girl was last seen getting into the sedan at a relative’s home that afternoon and was believed to be in imminent danger.

Merrick said he called 911 and then moved his garbage truck to block the driveway until a deputy arrived. Authorities were able to rescue the girl, who appeared to be unharmed. The child was being evaluated by medical personnel Monday morning, news outlets reported.

New Iberia Police said Michael R. Sereal, 33, was taken into custody and an arrest warrant was issued for aggravated kidnapping. State Police said he was an acquaintance of a relative of the girl.

Sereal is a registered sex offender, according to Iberia Parish records. He was convicted of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in 2006.

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