ST. JAMES, La. -- The St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in the case of a missing 12-year-old girl.
John Celestine, the 42-year-old fiancé of the girl’s mother, is charged with obstruction of justice. Authorities have been questioning him for some time, but so far he has not cooperated.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing girl is far from over. As police continue questioning their prime suspect, the search for Talaija Dorsey has wrapped up for Wednesday evening.
Now, family members in this close-knit community are praying the sweet little girl will come home safe.
With two helicopters and multiple ATVs, a huge search party is looking for 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey. Her disappearance has shaken this community to the core.
“It’s just been so sad,” said Travis Simon, her uncle. “Our hearts are heavy. Watching our kids, because a lot of kids knew her, so to see the kids cry on top of that.”
Her younger sister last saw her in her home in the 8300 block of Pecan Street early Tuesday morning. By the time a family friend came to pick her up for camp at 7:30 a.m., she was gone.
Talaija has never been known to run away, and there appeared to be no sign of forced entry. Investigators believe foul play may be involved.
“Most of the people in this community know this young lady,” said St. James Parish Sheriff Willey Martin. “That’s why I feel like if we had anyone in this community who knew her whereabouts, we would already know.”
Now, police have arrested 42-year-old John Celestine, Talaija’s mom’s live-in fiancé. He is charged with obstruction of justice and false reports or communication.
They say he won’t cooperate with their questioning. State police are processing his car for evidence. and they’re hopeful there will be a break in the case.
“We’ve cleared pretty much all the fields, all the edges of the woods,” Martin said.
Dozens of volunteers combed fields and wooded areas Wednesday. Plus, state police, the FBI and neighboring parish sheriff’s offices all helped in the search.
“A more detailed search on private properties, and even to some degree going into people’s residences and looking in garages and throughout the residences,” Martin said. “So we’ve got full cooperation from the entire community.”
Many of those who live on Talaija’s street are family members, and they’re asking for all the prayers they can get that brings Talaija home.
“I just pray and ask God that she just return home safe. That’s what we could hope for. If anything bad, just bring her back home so we could have peace.”
Officials say their search will resume at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
Talaija is 5’3” and about 120 pounds with brown eyes and black hair, and may be wearing a pink shirt.
If you have any information, call the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office at 225-562-2200.