CONROE – David Lee Tijerina turned 3-years-old on Aug. 3. He had wispy dark hair, round cheeks and big sparkling brown eyes. Only photographs remain, because his life was brutally ended on August 31 in the one place where he should have been safe- his home.
David’s mother, Daisy Isabell Tijerina, died on January 30, 2008. His aunt/caretaker Crystal Tijerina and his grandmother, Cristina Tijerina lived in the same home and are currently jailed in connection with David’s death, charged with injury to a child. Another male resident, Steven Chauvin, is incarcerated on the same charge. Crystal Tijerina’s boyfriend, Noah Herrera, is charged with capital murder.
Most of David’s immediate family is in jail, leaving no one to take care of funeral arrangements. However, a group of people he never knew cared enough to give him a proper burial, which occurred on Thursday at Cashner’s Garden Park Cemetery on FM 3083 in Conroe.
Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Edie Connelly, who conducted the inquest when David died, said her office coordinated with Cashner’s Funeral Home and members of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office who personally contributed to the service.
The service was not announced to the public or the news media and some elected officials declined to comment, saying their presence was for David, and not for a photo opportunity.
MCSO Patrol Chaplain Mike Evans officiated. The graveside service was attended by a few extended family members, along with many members of the Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, medical personnel from St. Luke’s Hospital in The Woodlands, and Bikers Against Child Abuse.
David’s white casket was so small that a traditional floral spray went from one end to the other, with stuffed animals and other toys. A fluffy white teddy bear sat on the ground in front of the coffin and there were more toys inside with David.
A white board placed on an easel near the casket displayed a collage of photos that showed David being held as an infant, and more recent photos of the boy playing on a Tonka riding toy, having apparently emerged from a swimming pool, wearing an adult’s big straw hat and one of him laughing with his mouth wide open.
As he looked at David’s photographs, Chaplain Evans told mourners he saw “an innocent, bright-eyed young man who did not get to experience all the things of life.”
Many were unable to choke back their tears during the service.
Lt. Dan Norris, MCSO Public Information Officer, reluctantly commented afterward, saying crime scene investigators, major crimes detectives and patrol officers were all deeply affected by the case.
“They do their jobs and they’re professional,” Norris said, “But I think every one of them was reminded of their own children, particularly since most of our investigators have young families.”
Norris said the service was a way for the officers to have some finality with David’s death, as the case moves forward.
“They will continue to work with the District Attorney’s Office to see that justice is pursued to the fullest extent,” Norris said.