St. James Parish man pleads guilty for murder of stepdaughter

The 12-year-old was also sexually assaulted, police say

St. James Parish man pleads guilty for murder of stepdaughter
John Celestine Jr.

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A 47-year-old man pleaded guilty on Friday to killing his 12-year-old stepdaughter.

John Celestine Jr. pled guilty to the charge of 2nd degree murder in connection with the 2014 murder of his step-daughter, 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey.

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 Dorsey disappeared from her home which she resided with her family.

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 Celestine, 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.

Celestine will be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections for life without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

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