Acadia Parish – On August 28, 2016, at approximately 3:00 am, Louisiana State Police were informed by the US Marshals Service (USMS) that a wanted California sex offender could possibly be traveling through Louisiana. Troopers learned 37 year-old Joseph F. Moreno was wanted out of Dos Palos, CA on charges of sexually assaulting a child. Moreno was believed to be traveling with 37 year-old Penny L. Rascon and her four children, ages 4, 6, 7, and 8 years old. The four children were all listed as missing out of California.

Upon receiving the information from the US Marshals Service, Louisiana State Police broadcast the wanted person information to all law enforcement across a three Troop area along the I-10 corridor. Shortly after 7:00 am, two Troopers from State Police Troop I who had been working closely with the USMS spotted Moreno at a convenience store off of Exit 76 near I-10 in Acadia Parish. Troopers arrested Moreno and placed him in the rear of a police unit. Troopers located Rascon and her four children in a vehicle in the far corner of a parking lot near several 18-wheelers. Troopers arrested Rascon and immediately took custody of the four children.

Troopers were able to tell the children were hungry and had not bathed in several days. Troopers immediately purchased food and drinks for all four children and transported them to Troop I headquarters. While at Troop I, the children were given blankets, pillows, and toys to play with. LSP Troop I Communications Specialists and several on duty Troopers cared for and visited with the children to make them feel comfortable and safe.

Moreno and Rascon were transported to and booked into the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Moreno was booked on an active arrest warrant from California for 3 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 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.”