Police arrested the parents of a 2-year-old boy on July 7 after stumbling upon what they believe is his dead body buried in a garbage bag under a bridge in Elmwood, Louisiana.
While it not yet clear what caused the child’s death, or that it is the missing toddler, police have charged Gabrielle Whittington and Onterio Thompson, both 21, for unlawful disposal of human remains, NOLA reports.
"This was a circumstantial identification," Jefferson Parish Deputy Coroner Granville Morse said. "Circumstantially, things point towards it being him."
"The body was badly decomposed so there was no obvious, identifiable cause of death," he continued, adding that the child’s remains may have been there for at least two weeks.
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The child’s grandmother contacted authorities on July 5, asking them to perform a welfare check on her grandson after she had not seen for many weeks.
“The family members became suspicious when there were different stories about where this 2-year-old was located," St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said, The Advocate reports. "We met with the family members and the mother. We got the runaround from the mother, who gave us different stories.”
After questioning the parents and neighbors, it was revealed the parents may have moved home two weeks ago -- around the time the child was believed to be buried.
A day after talking to the parents, the child’s body was found underneath a bridge.
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Authorities say they are in the middle of investigations to find out what the child died of and to confirm the body’s identity.
"It's tragic that a child was left in a garbage bag," Morse added.
It’s not the first time a 21-year-old parent in Louisiana shocked the country for allegedly harming a 2-year-old in 2016, WFLA reports.
Tyler Dauzat was arrested in May after police claim her 2-year-old child ate crystal meth.
Dauzat reportedly brought the extremely erratic child to the hospital. Doctors performed a blood test on the toddler, revealing he had consumed copious amounts of methamphetamine.
While the child's mother was not initially truthful, she later revealed to authorities she had left her child alone near a purse that contained the drugs.
Authorities arrested the mother on various charges, including negligent injuring, cruelty to juveniles and illegal use of a controlled dangerous substance.
They also took both her 2-year-old and a 4-year-old sibling into custody.