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Chesterfield County PD

A kidnapped 10-year-old girl was rescued thanks to two quick-thinking sanitation workers in Louisiana.

Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, who work for Pelican Waste, were working their regular shift Monday morning when they spotted a car matching the description of a sedan in an Amber Alert.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert for a 10-year-old girl reported missing by her family on Sunday.

When Merrick and Antoine spotted the sedan in a field on Monday, they pulled over their garbage truck on the wrong side of the highway to block the vehicle in and called 911.

Merrick streamed their heroics on Facebook Live and captured police taking the suspect into custody near St. Martin Parish.

The two men are being hailed as heroes for their quick action.

"I feel blessed just to find her alive and everything," Merrick told CBS News on Wednesday. "It's just a wonderful feeling."

"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 said in his video. "That's God."

Merrick and Antoine, who are both fathers, say it was their duty to help the child.

"It was just one of those things you just had to do," said Merrick, a Navy veteran and father of two.

Both men were praised by their company and the local police chief offered to buy them lunch. The story made global headlines.

"It's a blessing," Antoine said. "All over the world, I love it."

The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Michael Roy Sereal and he was arrested for aggravated kidnapping, police said.

The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Department wouldn't confirm if the suspect is the same Michael Roy Sereal listed on the department's online sex offender registry.
 

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Screen grab: YouTube/Local News 33

Hundreds of parishioners ignored a ban on large public gatherings to attend morning services at Life Tabernacle Church in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana suburb on Sunday.

Church officials ordered the news media to leave church property as entire families arrived at the church.

1,265 attended morning services on church grounds in the state of Louisiana, where 3,500 residents tested positive for the Covid-19 virus that can cause a potentially fatal pneumonia in men, the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, and smokers.

Pentecostal preacher Tony Spell, 42, stood in defiance of the governor's ban on large public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He leaped into the pews and embraced and laid hands on worshipers' foreheads in prayer. "We're free people. We're not going to be intimidated," Rev. Spell said. "We're not going to cower. We're not breaking any laws."

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Screen grab: YouTube/Local News 33

Seven people were baptized on Sunday, and 10 parishioners were filed with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Tears streamed down their faces as they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards banned gatherings of more than 50 people earlier this month. He issued a stay-at-home order on March 22. Most churches and synagogues complied with the orders, but Rev. Spell continues to hold services at Life Tabernacle.

Only about 10% stayed away from services on Sunday, including Rev. Spell's own 90-year-old father who in self-quarantine at home.
 

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Screen Grab: Instagram.com

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said one of its deputies did not plant drugs on a Black suspect after a viral video sparked outrage on social media this week.

The video allegedly showed a sheriff's deputy planting evidence on a suspect during an arrest in Bridge City on Monday, March 16.

Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images

The video went viral after rapper Tip "T.I." Harris posted the clip on his Instagram page and told his 12 million followers:

"The Jefferson Parish PD planting crack on this Man... You should all be ashamed of yourselves,fired,& indicted!!! Listen to the pig at the end talking about "Your Phone Is Evidence!!!" Yeah you right... the evidence we need against YOU!!! Fuckin Dork!!!"

The video was viewed over 3 million times, leading to calls of police misconduct and threats of rioting.

But after an internal investigation, the JPSO determined the white baggie was indeed taken from the suspect's pocket, according to Nola.com.

During a press conference on Tuesday night, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said his department found no wrongdoing.

"The drugs that were on the scene were previously confiscated from the suspect's pocket before that video started to play," Lopinto said.

Lopinto thanked the suspect, Dominique Griffin, 26, of Bridge City, who admitted he was in possession of the drugs, which tested positive for crystal methamphetamine.

Griffin told investigators the deputy did not plant the baggie on him, according to Lopinto.

"He understands the gravity of the situation with the accusations that were being made," Lopinto said of Griffin.

Griffin was booked on two counts of drug possession.
 


 

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