CONVENT — A white Chrysler Concorde owned by the fiancé of the mother of a missing St. James Parish girl has become the latest focus of investigators searching for her.
The St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from anyone who might have seen John Celestine’s 2001 white, four-door Chrysler Concorde on or about Tuesday, July 1, the day 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey went missing. Investigators want to know where the car was seen.
Celestine, who is the fiancé of Talaija’s mother and lived in the home with the family, was booked Wednesday by the Sheriff’s Office on felony obstruction of justice and a false communications count and is being held in jail.
Sheriff Willy Martin said the Sheriff’s Office is processing both the Chrysler Concorde and a white minivan that was in disrepair in the front yard of the home, both of which belong to Celestine, “even though we saw no sign of the crime” in the cars or in the trailer home on Pecan Street in St. James, where the family lived.
Talaija’s grandfather, Lawrence Smith, said on Thursday that deputies had found a pair of Talaija’s slippers inside the minivan.
Martin said he’s told Celestine, “Either we’re going to clear you” or find evidence to the contrary.
Martin said anyone who might have seen the Concorde, which Celestine drove to work on Tuesday, should call (855)TIPS-247; text TIP SJPSO to 888777 or call Crimestoppers at (877) 903-7867.
Crimestoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for Talaija’s disappearance.
“We still have a hope we’ll find her alive,” Martin said on Friday afternoon but added that the Sheriff’s Office is hoping that people who may have seen or heard something that will help them develop new leads or new places to search for Talaija will contact the Sheriff’s Office.
Martin said all of the methods of contact the Sheriff’s Office allow the caller or texter to remain anonymous. Callers or texters, he said, can leave a tip or have a back-and-forth conversation with deputies, providing additional information, and remain anonymous. Anyone with information can also submit a tip online, anonymously, at https://local.nixle.com/tip/alert/5228379.
Talaija was reported missing from her home in St. James on Tuesday morning. She’s 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs approximately 120 pounds. She was possibly wearing a pink shirt at the time of her disappearance.