POSTED: Monday, July 7, 2014 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 7, 2014 - 6:34pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC 33) — "She was a sweet little girl. I mean, she never had problems mingling with the kids and playing with the kids and never trouble with behavior. Just a sweet, innocent child."
That is how Scherell Sterling remembers 12 year-old Talaija Dorsey. Her kidnapping left the quiet St. James in shock. And as each day past, people prepared for the worst.
"After the 2nd day went by, I didn't think she was still alive. But I was still going to church praying that she would come back," said Catherine Temple, a St. James resident.
And even though this outcome was in the back of people's mind, the news that Talaija had passed still rocked the community.
"I was actually leaving out of church when I received the news and I was in a loss for words. I said no this can't be. On my way home I had to pull to the side of the road and I just started crying because I have kids. I'm a mother, I'm a teacher. And I deal with kids her age," said Sterling.
Perhaps it was just that...Talaija's age and her innocence that rallied an entire community of individuals...to come together in a single prayer of hope.
"I'm sure all the prayers. Baptist, catholic, everything, did some good. Because they did find her. But the only thing is....I just wish that they had found her, before she died," added Helen Nelson of St. James Parish.
And it doesn't surprise anyone that the suspect in question, is an outsider. Because this is unfamiliar territory.
"St. James Parish is like a family area and we don't see people taking kids and molesting kids around here because we are all close to everyone. Everybody in St. James watches everybody's kids," added Temple.