JEFFERSON - How and why a two-year-old child died, and was buried in a garbage bag on the Mississippi riverbank in July, is still unknown.
His parents, Gabrielle Whittington and Onterio Thompson, are in prison awaiting court appearances. Thursday their families gathered for a proper burial donated by complete strangers who saw the story on the news.
Timothy Thompson IV, was laid to rest. Volunteers from the Knights of Columbus came to St. Anthony of Padua as honor guards. His father's family dressed in white.
"Because he's an angel. He's an angel," said his paternal grandmother Laverne Thompson.
Baby Tim's mother's family came to pay respect as well. His maternal grandmother was serving time for addiction when she heard the news that his decomposed body was found buried on the riverbank under the Huey P. Long bridge.
"I felt like I'm living in a mother, grandmother's worst nightmare, waiting to wake up and it's actually real," said Bridget Whittington.
Both Whittington and Thompson, are in jail charged with second degree murder.
"I do love her and I do support her. That is my daughter. My heart breaks for her too, because I was not there that night. I do not know what happened," said Whittington.
As they have done for 82 other children, the group Compassionate Burials for Indigent Babies, CBIB, is paying for the entire funeral, mass, and crypt where he will be buried.
"He's going to be buried like a king or little prince and that's what this is meant to be, very respectful, very beautiful, and it gives him honor," said
Lise Naccari, the founder of CBIB who said she feels called to do this for families no matter how a child died.
Both families are grateful to CBIB.
"Ready to lay my baby to rest and give him a proper burial, a burial he deserve because, he's my baby. He's not an animal, and he was buried like an animal but he's my baby," said Thompson.
His paternal grandmother and grandfather are now raising 'Baby Tim's' three siblings in Texas. They believe the toddler was severely malnourished. Whittington, his maternal grandmother, says she disagrees with that assessment and says now that she has been clean and sober for eight months, she wants a relationship with the other grandchildren.
Both grandmothers say that the toddler's mother who is in jail, is pregnant again.
Thompson, who has custody of the other children, says she wants to raise that baby with its siblings.
To help the Thompson family with child expenses: https://www.gofundme.com/2qlr0qs
To help Compassionate Burials for Indigent Babies on it's mission: 504-202-3111