There could be enough evidence gathered on the Talaija Dorsey murder case to convict murder suspect, John D. Celeste. This is according to St. James Parish District Attorney Ricky Babin. Celeste was the fiance of Talaija's mother, Emma Smith.
The Times-Picayune reports July 8 that two days after Talaija's body was found, Celeste went from being a "person of interest" to a suspect charged with first-degree murder. It's unknown if the suspect has hired an attorney.
The State Police Crime Lab has been processing evidence that apparently points strongly to Celeste. Babin believes they have enough evidence to take the case to a grand jury.
"No matter what we find from here on out, I still think we have enough (for a conviction)."
Celestine had lived with Smith and four children for about five years in their house on Pelican Lane in St. James, the report revealed. They are the biological parents of the two youngest children; Talaija and her 11-year-old sister had a different father.
The case hit home for St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin, Jr. He said in a press conference Sunday afternoon after locating her body that finding her dead wasn't the end "they was hoping" for.
The Advocate reported on the sheriff's state of mind when he was helping rescue teams locate Talaija. He took the 12-year-old's photo home with him every night and carried it with him. She went missing last Tuesday at about 7 am and was found five days later in a thick, grassy area behind a sugar cane field. near La. 3127. The discovery was at about 10:20 am Sunday.
Talaija's mother, Emma Dorsey, noticed her daughter missing from her bedroom last Tuesday. Her fiance, John D. Celestine, is now the suspect in the 12-year-old's murder. He was booked Wednesday after deputies found a pair of her slippers in an out-of-use minivan on the family's property. His charges included obstruction of justice and false communications.
"We’re still holding that person We’re hoping that we will find evidence at the scene that will help us."
It's not clear if the girl was killed where her body was found or if she was dumped there. No other details regarding Talaija Dorsey have been released surrounding the condition of her body when it was found -- or how she died. An autopsy is being conducted. The sheriff does believe she was killed the day she disappeared.
Authorities searched for Dorsey around St. James, Assumption, and Jefferson parishes. These were areas that Celestine was "known to frequent," according to the report. Celestine worked in Jefferson Parish and owned land in Assumption Parish.
Where Talaija was found was a "possible route Celestine would take to work."
Martin says of the evidence found Tuesday against Celeste allegedly murdering Talaija Dorsey:
"We knew we had enough...to charge him, and that was today. We will have more, but we don't have it completed."