On October 12, 2018, just days prior to his scheduled trial date, 47-year-old John Celestine Jr. of 8308 Pecan Lane St. James, LA., pled guilty to the charge of 2nd Degree Murder in connection with the 2014 murder of his step-daughter, 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey. Celestine was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Robin O’Bannon and Bruce Mohon. Presiding over this matter was the Honorable Judge Alvin Turner.
On July 1, 2014, a widespread community search was initiated after the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office received a report indicating that 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey disappeared from the St. James home which she resided with her family. With hopes that Talaija would be found alive, multiple law enforcement agencies including the FBI and Louisiana State Police as well as community members assisted in the search. Several days after her disappearance, Talaija’s body was located in a field off of LA 3127 in St. James Parish. An extensive investigation revealed that John Celestine Jr., the fiancé of Talaija’s mother, lured Talaija from the home before sexually assaulting and murdering her before dumping her body. Due to the condition of the body, Talaija’s exact cause of death remains unknown.
Upon entering a guilty plea to the above-mentioned charge, it was ordered that Celestine be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections for life without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.