It’s been almost a week since deputies found 2-year-old Brantley Smith’s lifeless body at a home in Clinton, South Carolina.
Smith’s tragic death has shaken the Laurens County community to its core. His story has touched the lives of many people, all of them gathering at a Rabun Creek Baptist Church to celebrate his life.
Missing from the crowd was Jessica Smith, Brantley’s mother, who was not released from jail to attend Friday’s service.
“Brantley is with Jesus now,” said family friend and family spokesperson Diane Smith. “Let’s take hope in one day we will see him again.”
On Friday, embracing each other Smith’s family entered the church where they would say their final goodbyes and lay the 2-year-old to rest.
“Their hearts are broken, they’re doing the best they can in this situation.” Smith told 7News.
Flower with letters of sympathy, pictures of happier times and the toddler’s favorite toys – each attached to a special memory – all surrounded the small casket in the middle of the Laurens County church.
Amidst the pain, his family celebrated his life by finding joy and comfort in the memories they shared together.
“He was a bright light! He just loved his brothers, and his papa and his Jojo.” Smith said.
Last Saturday, the toddler was beaten, molested and murdered at a home on Country Lane in Clinton.
His mother, Jessica Smith, and her boyfriend, William Looper, are behind bars for his death.
Smith is charged with Homicide by Child Neglect.
Looper is charged with Murder.
Now Smith’s family is using the tragedy to prevent another from happening.
“Their main purpose for this is to get the word out for child abuse,” said Smith. “They want everyone to know that this was senseless and this does not have to happen.”
On Friday, when 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman arrived at the church, Brantley’s grandmother hugged her and said she’s thankful for the respectful coverage WSPA has done of her grandson’s untimely death.