Community holds fundraiser, balloon release & candlelight vigil for Talaija Dorsey

balloons for Talaija (Source: WAFB)
balloons for Talaija (Source: WAFB)
Balloons for Talaija (Source: WAFB)
Balloons for Talaija (Source: WAFB)

LUTCHER, LA (WAFB) - A fundraiser, balloon release, and candlelight vigil were held Thursday in honor of the slain 12-year-old St. James Parish girl.The fundraiser for Talaija Dorsey was at the Sixth District Park Multi-purpose building on Church Street in Vacherie from noon to 10 p.m. Fish and chicken plates were sold for $8, with the donations going to the family.

The funeral home has donated the cost of the funeral and burial to Talaija's family.

A balloon release was also held in the parking lot of Lutcher Town Hall.  Both events were hosted by community members who did not know Dorsey, but say they felt a need to show support to the family.

"Everybody felt it," volunteer Sylvia Williams said. "They felt it and felt like it was their child...everybody felt the need of that family."

"I have a 12 year old daughter," fundraiser organizer Jerome Jackson said. "I was thinking about the family, what they're going through."

St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin was among those at the balloon release.  Martin said autopsy results for the girl came back inconclusive.  He says they are still processing evidence from the scene and hope to determine what happened to the 12-year-old girl.  The sheriff says the man accused of killing her, John Celestine, who is the fiancé of the girls mother, is not saying anything to investigators.

Family members say funeral arrangements for the girl have been finalized.  Family and friends will gather at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, in St. James, Saturday at 11 a.m.

Also planned in honor of the little girl, a community prayer and candlelight vigil Thursday night. Attendees are asked to bring candles to light in Dorsey’s honor.

Dorsey's body was found Sunday after she disappeared from her home on July 1.

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