There was only enough space for four pallbearers to hold his tiny casket.

The circumstances of his death, which led to his parents' arrest, remain unclear. But on Thursday, Timothy Thompson got a proper funeral.

"My grandbaby is finally laid to rest. Finally laid to rest after three months," said his grandmother, Laverne Thompson. "And I know he's happy now."

The 2-year-old boy's body was found in a shallow grave in the east bank levee underneath the Huey P. Long Bridge on July 6.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrested his parents, Onterio Thompson and Gabrielle Whittington, on second-degree murder counts earlier this month after the Coroner's Office ruled the death a homicide of "undetermined origin."

Members from both sides of Timothy's family were present at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Mid-City for his funeral Mass.

Inside the church, Whittington's sister, 17-year-old Valerie Whittington, read a poem in which she remembered the "pretty little baby boy who hardly ever cried."

She said she began the poem as the details of his death were being uncovered, and she finished it Wednesday night.

"I've been just writing as I feel my emotions go," she said.

Just after a handful of doves were released into the air, Whittington recalled that her nephew called her "Bal-Bal," instead of her nickname "Val-Val," because he could not pronounce it.

The services were paid for by Compassionate Burials for Indigent Babies, a nonprofit group that also provided for the burial of an infant found in a Slidell trash compactor last year.

"It is a privilege for us to show honor to this little baby boy and to give him a proper dignified burial instead of a garbage bag underneath the Huey P. Long Bridge," the group's founder, Lise Naccari, said in a statement. "It is tragic for the whole community when a baby is murdered."

Even as Timothy was being interred, however, there were reminders that the legal inquiry into his death is not over.

After his casket was brought to its resting vault, his grandmother made a point to thank Detective Jean Lincoln, who was present, for investigating the case. "I'm so grateful for all the hard work," Thompson told Lincoln.

It was Thompson who started that investigation back in early July, when she told law enforcement that her grandson was missing.

In February, she has said, she warned the Department of Children and Family Services that the boy appeared to be malnourished. Months later, she began to suspect that something worse had happened to her grandson. Eventually, her son Onterio led Jefferson Parish deputies to the grave site under the bridge.

Deputies obtained warrants for the arrest of Onterio Thompson and Gabrielle on Sept. 1. Neither has been formally charged.

Related

The grandmother of a toddler whose body was found stuffed inside a garbage bag underneath th…

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432