Quinton Simon: What we know about desperate search for 20-month-old who vanished in Georgia five days ago

20-month-old went missing from address he shared with mother and grandparents

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 11 October 2022 16:22 BST
Desperate search continues for missing Georgia toddler Quinton Simon
Leer en Español

The desperate search for missing Georgia toddler Quinton Simon has entered its seventh day.

The 20-month-old child went missing on Wednesday (5 October) from his home in Savannah, according to the Chatham County Police Department.

Police are calling for members of the public to come forward with any information that may help their days-long search for Quinton, which officials said was their “highest priority”.

Here is everything you need to know:

When did Quinton go missing?

The toddler went missing on 5 October from his home in Savannah, a coastal city on the border between Georgia and South Carolina, in Chatham County.

Quinton was last seen at about 6am that day at an address in the 500 block of Buckhalter Road, and was reported missing at approximately 9.40am by his mother, Lelani Simon.

The child’s 22-year-old mother told police her son was playing in a playpen when he was last seen, although earlier reports suggested Quinton had wandered off, CNN reported.

A missing persons poster for Quinton Simon

Diana McCarta, his babysitter, said in an interview with WSAV that she had been due to look after Quinton that day but at 5.30am, about half an hour before he was last seen, was told she was not needed.

Ms MsCarta said she received a message from Quinton’s mother later that morning asking if she knew where the boy was, and “immediately” went to the family’s home to help search for Quinton before his mother eventually phoned police.

She added: “They didn’t want that (her help). So, I’ve been just waiting around like everyone else.”

He was wearing a light blue Sesame Street shirt and black pants.

What agencies are involved in the search?

The FBI is supporting the Chatham County Police Department in the search for Quinton, with law enforcement spending 18 to 20 hours a day looking for the 20-month-old child, CNN reported.

Chatham County police said in an earlier statement that it had executed search warrants and continued to interview “those who might have information that could be helpful in the investigation” with the help of the FBI.

The FBI is involved because of the possibility of the disappearance of Quinton being an abduction, although this remains unconfirmed. An Amber Alert has not been issued.

Where have investigators searched?

Search warrants were carried out on a nearby pond, swimming pool and the house itself in the 500 block of Buckhalter Road in Savannah, police said.

Speaking on Friday, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said they had “exhausted” searching an area where Quinton could have wandered, according to ABC News.

“We’ve tried to use every available resource that we can that makes sense within the scope of our investigation to try to get a better understanding of what’s happened to little Quinton,” Mr Hadley said.

On Sunday, police said they would begin “re-canvassing some specific areas as we continue to work to find Quinton Simon” and on Tuesday announced the discovery of evidence “that we believe will help move this case forward”.

That evidence was now under going analysis, police said.

“The FBI continues to provide assistance and support, as they have since day one.We know thousands of people are checking in every day to see if there is any news about Quinton, and we are committed to keeping you updated and informed,,” police said last week.

What has his family said?

Speaking to reporters last week, Quinton’s grandparents said the boy’s mother “hasn’t always done the right thing,” and expressed concern for the 20-month-old.

“Sometimes she does really great, sometimes she doesn’t,” Billie Jo Howell told ABC30. “I don’t know what to think right now...I don’t know if I can trust her or I don’t. I just know I’m hurting and I want this baby home. He’s my baby.”

Ms Howell reportedly lived at the same address as Quinton and Ms Simon along with her husband Thomas Howell, and her daughter’s boyfriend, WJCL reported.

The news outlet obtained court documents alleging an eviction despite, with Ms Howell seeking to remove her daughter and her boyfriend from the property over alleged “damage” and a lack of “peace”. This remains unconfirmed however.

The same documents also stated that Quinton’s grandparents have custody of the child, according to WJCL.

Quinton’s mother has not spoken to reporters.

Is there a motive?

Chatham County police said last week they do not believe foul play is involved in the disappearance of Quinton and that they hoped to find him alive, WJCL reported.

He is still considered a missing person and police have said “all parties are cooperating with investigators,” and that the case does not appear to be a custody dispute either.

The police chief told reporters on Monday that the case could become a criminal one however, with the department confident of a resolution with the FBI’s assistance. There are no suspects at present and the case remains a missing persons one at present however.

“We don’t have anything confirmed so we can’t say anything absolute, but it is fair to say that in our efforts — and the cooperation with the FBI and them providing an abundance of resource to us — that we are looking at the criminal investigation aspect of it as well,” he said.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in