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Family, sheriff talk about murder charges in girl's death

1 year ago July 08, 2014 Jul 8, 2014 Tuesday, July 08 2014 Tuesday, July 08, 2014 12:19:03 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Russell Jones, Ryan Naquin

CONVENT - Authorities charged John Celestine with murder in the death of his fiance's daughter, who disappeared from her St. James Parish home last week.

A grand jury indicted Celestine on first-degree murder charges of 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey Tuesday. It comes a day after Sheriff Willy Martin said his office turned over evidence in the case to the district attorney's office to consider formal charges.

"We've been working really close with the State Police Crime Lab," Martin said.

Martin points to forensic evidence for his reasoning why Celestine is the one and only suspect. But at this time, Martin's hesitant to say what exactly he has on Celestine.

"I can't get into any specific details about what it is," Martin said. "I don't want to do anything that could jeopardize this case, that could assist defense. I'm being cautious, extremely cautious."

Searchers found the Talaija's body in a wooded area near a cane field outside Vacherie over the weekend. Her disappearance on July 1 led to a massive search effort through St. James and neighboring parishes.

Investigators arrested Celestine on obstruction charges the next day, and later said Dorsey's shoe was found in his vehicle.

Talajia's family members are trying to handle what life has dealt them, especially since someone they welcomed into their family is charged with a violent crime.

"[I hope] that justice be served and that he gets his share. He gets to feel what we felt for these last couple of days now," Talaija's great aunt Leona Harris said. "All I can say that my prayers are with him and whatever he gets he deserves."

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