ACADIA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - On August 28, around 3 a.m., Louisiana State Police (LSP) was informed by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) that a wanted sex offender from California was possibly traveling through the state.
Joseph F. Moreno, 37, of Dos Palos, CA, was wanted on charges of sexually assaulting a child. He was believed to be traveling with Penny L. Rascon, 37, and her four children, ages 4, 6, 7, and 8 years old. All four children were reported missing out of California.
Upon receiving this information, LSP broadcast the wanted person information all across a three Troop area along I-10. Just after 7 a.m., two troopers who had been working closely with the USMS spotted Moreno at a convenience store off of Exit 76 near I-10 in Acadia Parish.
Moreno was arrested at that time. Troopers then located Rascon and her four children in a vehicle nearby. They also arrested Rascon and took custody of her four children.
Troopers noted that the children were hungry and had not bathed in several days. They immediately purchased food and drinks for the children and transported them to Troop I headquarters. There, the children were given blankets, pillows, and toys to play with. The troopers and communication specialists at headquarters interacted with the children in an attempt to make them more comfortable.
Moreno and Rascon were booked into the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office. Moreno was booked on an active warrant from California for three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14. Rascon was booked for child abduction. Both are awaiting extradition back to California. The four children have been released into the custody of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.
"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."