Troopers arrest wanted sex offender, locate 4 missing children
ACADIA PARISH - State Police reported they located four missing children and arrested a wanted sex offender from California Sunday morning.
At around 3 a.m. on Sunday, the Marshals Service reported to Troopers that the sex offender, 37-year-old Joseph Moreno, was believed to be traveling through the state with 37-year-old Penny Rascon and her four children, aged between four and eight years old. Moreno was wanted on charges of sexually assaulting a child, and the four children were all listed as missing out of California.
Troopers along the I-10 corridor began to keep an eye out for the group, and State Police reported spotting Moreno at a convenience store of Exit 76 near I-10 in Acadia Parish at around 7 a.m. Troopers took Moreno into custody before locating Rascon and her four children in a vehicle parked at the store.
It was obvious the children were hungry and had not bathed in several days, according to Troopers, so they purchased food and drinks for the kids and took them to LSP Troop I headquarters. Once there, the children were given blankets, pillows and toys to play with. Several on-duty Troopers and LSP Troop I Communication Specialists cared for and visited with the children to ensure they were comfortable and safe.
Moreno and Rascon were booked into the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Moreno was booked on an active arrest warrant from California for three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14. Rascon was booked for child abduction. Both are currently awaiting extradition back to California. The four children were released to Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services personnel.
“This is an excellent example of Troopers working hand in hand with law enforcement across the nation to help those in need,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “The successful recovery of these four children is proof that law enforcement partnerships work. Troopers will continue to work with our established partners to seek out and bring to justice those who wish to harm our children.”