NEW ORLEANS – The grandmother of a 2-year-old found under the Huey P. Long bridge in June is talking about his death, and what led her to call the police.
Laverne Thompson said it was a grandmother's intuition that something was wrong with her grandson back in June that led her to call authorities.
It was too late. Now she believes the toddler’s death could have been prevented.
"He couldn't ask for help. He couldn't pick up the phone and call me and say, 'Maw Maw this is going on,"' said Thompson of Sugar Land, Texas.
It was a crime that shocked the city.
A young father led police to the banks of the Mississippi River, under the Huey P. Long Bridge, where Timothy Thompson IV was buried after being put in a garbage bag.
The parents are both in jail for second-degree murder, and Thompson has custody of their other three children.
"I felt like I couldn't breathe,” Thompson said wiping tears away with a cloth. “I felt like my life stopped. Still to this day, I feel the same way."
She believes he would still be alive today if he and his three siblings would have been taken from their parents in February. That is when she traveled from her home Texas home New Orleans and discovered Timothy and one sister were what she described as ‘skin and bones.’ She rushed him to the hospital and called child protective services.
"The appearance of the children, they should have been removed immediately and they weren't," she said.
The other three children, ages 4, 3, and 1, are now in her custody in Texas until they are 18. Her son, 21-year-old Onterio Thompson, and the children’s’ mother, 21-year-old Gabrielle Whittington, are both in jail. They’ve been charged with second-degree murder after the toddler was found in a shallow grave.
"They need to be held accountable for their actions and never see the light of day again," she said, adding that she will never make excuses or lie for her son and his actions.
She said Timothy's siblings will never know pain again.
"I'm going to make sure that they have they breakfast, lunch, snack, supper, and I'm going to make sure that they educated,” said Thompson. “I'm going to make sure they know love."
Thompson said she has asked her son how and when Timothy died, but he will only tell her that the lawyers advise him not to discuss it.
The toddler's body was so badly decomposed that there is still no official cause of death.
(© 2016 WWL)