MARRERO, LA (WVUE) - "This girl allegedly took her own child's life, and it became way personal for me. That's why I basically started my own war," said bounty hunter Gene "Tat-2" Thacker.
Thacker said he began looking for 21-year-old Gabrielle Whittington on Friday after police issued a warrant for her arrest. Whittington is accused in the second-degree murder of her 2-year-old son, Timothy Thompson.
"I found a whole bunch of people that were associated with her," Thacker said. "I started hitting houses and asking questions. The whole time, I didn't want to step on what the U.S. Marshals were doing already, but I felt as a person and as a bounty hunter that I had to do what I had to do."
Timothy's body was found in a shallow grave under the Huey P. Long Bridge in July. Pathologists with the coroner's office later determined the boy's death was a homicide, but they still don't know exactly how he died.
Thacker's search for Whittington continued for more than 24 hours straight, and he said it became personal. He decided to post it on his personal Facebook page.
"In less than six hours, I had over a thousand shares, and then it kept going up. There were people all across America looking for her, and I think this whole case became personal for a lot of people," he said.
Convinced he was close on her trail, Whittington surrendered to police Sunday evening.
"I felt like what I did was enough for her to turn herself in," Thacker said.
A judge set her bond at $500,000 for the second-degree murder charge.
"I'm not a bias parent. I'm all for consequences. You do something wrong and you're going to suffer the consequences," said Laverne Thompson, Timothy's grandmother.
Her son, Onterio, is also booked with second-degree murder but remains locked up in St. Tammany on an unrelated charge.
Thompson is upset and doesn't believe the couple should have a bond at all.
"I am not that kind of mother. I am not going to come to your aid, and say, 'Ok, we're going to get you out of this.' No, I'm not going to do that. I am not going to give you a slap on the wrist when my grandson is dead," Thompson said.
She now has custody of the couple's three other children and a Go Fund Me account has been set up to help Thompson with their expenses.