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Family Members Of Missing 12-Year Old React To “Person Of Interest” Arrest

The search for a missing 12-year old girl has expanded beyond St. James Parish.

Authorities are following leads that have shifted their focus to Assumption Parish.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter has the latest on the case.

Local, state, and federal agents fanned out again to search for Talaija Dorsey.

The 12-year old was last seen inside the family’s Pecan Street home early Tuesday morning.

Thursday — authorities set up road blocks in St. James Parish and questioned drivers during morning rush.

“The folks who are getting out there and maybe saw something and don’t realize that they may have information that may be useful to us,” St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin said.

Investigators are calling John Celestine a person of interest.

He’s Talaija’s mother’s boyfriend.

A cloud of suspicion has loomed over him; after questions from detectives revealed a long list of inconsistencies as to his whereabouts the morning Talaija went missing.

Family member Leona Harris said, “He stopped talking since Tuesday night. Trotter asked, “Why?” We have no idea. I guess when they came here and they found the shoe in the car, he just said I don’t want to say anything else until he have a lawyer,” she replied.

“He did talk to us last night at length,” Sheriff Maritin added. “Didn’t give us anything significant that would make us change our focus on him. But he also didn’t give us anything incriminating to him.”

Search teams spent the better part of Thursday sifting through wooded fields along Highway 70 in Assumption Parish.

“We know he went that direction so we are following the route,” said Sheriff Martin.

Family members are also convinced the person of interest knows more than he’s willing to say.

“He’s done what he’s done so he needs to just go on and tell the whole story so the family can at least have closure,” Harris said.

Authorities are racing against the clock; knowing that each passing hour diminishes the likelihood of a good outcome.

“We are concerned that time is running out on us and if she was somewhere unable to reach out for help than we know our window is closing in on us,” said Sheriff Martin.

John Celestine remains in custody.

He’s been charged with obstruction of justice. Sheriff Martin says additional charges are pending.