Officials expand search for missing 12-year-old girl

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 3 at 5:13 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

VACHERIE, La. -- It’s been 48 hours since Talajia Dorsey’s family discovered she was missing from the family’s home, but her family remains hopeful.

“I hope that she comes back to her mom. I hope she comes back to us,” said Lenra Watis, a member of Talajia’s family. “Her family misses her. They love her.”

Although the family says there has never been any reason to suspect Talajia’s mother’s fiancé, John Celestine, had anything to do with her disappearance, deputies still haven’t ruled him out as a suspect.

Authorities say Celestine leases a property in Assumption Parish, and they learned he went there before work the day little Talaisha went missing.

“We are looking at all the routes between his work place, which is in Jefferson Parish, and his property he frequents in Assumption Parish,” said St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin.

Law enforcement agencies from several jurisdictions, along with volunteers, spent Thursday afternoon combing through sugar cane fields in and around the property.

Benedict Miller was just one of several St. James residents who volunteered to help.

“All these guys from state police and all these people don’t know all of these little in and outs and fields and stuff. I grew up in south Vacherie. I did crawfish, fishing and hunting, all that stuff,” said Benedict Miller, a St. James Parish resident volunteer. “I know all the little spots where people could probably do something, drop somebody off.”

Deputies say their search efforts have shifted based on some solid leads coming in from the community. They encourage anyone to step forward if they know anything at all.

“I am still asking the community for anything. Anything that might not be important to you might be important to us,” Martin said.

Celestine remains in custody on an obstruction of justice charge. Deputies tell us they will continue searching the area until it gets dark before calling off the search for the night.

 

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