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Quinton Simon - update: Mother of missing Georgia toddler under fire as search enters fourth week

Follow for the latest updates on the search for Quinton Simon

Andrea Blanco
Monday 31 October 2022 17:39 GMT
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Quinton Simon: Missing toddler's body believed to be in landfill, police say

The search for missing toddler Quinton Simon has entered its fourth week in Savannah, Georgia.

The 20-month-old vanished on 5 October and is now presumed dead and buried in a landfill, Georgia authorities said. His mother, 22-year-old Leilani Simon, is considered the prime suspect in the case but has not been arrested or charged.

Speaking to WTOC on Monday for her first interview since Quinton was reported missing, Ms Simon complained that she has been a victim of “devastating harassment” by protesters camped outside her home.

“I’ve been here every day since this. I’m not running and I’m not hiding,” Ms Simon told the outlet. “And if something does come up that I am at fault, I will take myself to that police station.”

Curiously - given investigators’ confidence that Quinton is dead due to actions of his mother - Ms Simon said she hopes the boy is found “happy and alive”.

Investigators renewed their dedication to finding Quinton’s body in a statement on Wednesday, marking three weeks since he disappeared.

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Quinton’s body believed to be in landfill

Authorities offered a tragic update in the search for missing 20-month-old Quinton Simon on Tuesday, revealing he is believed to be buried in a landfill.

Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told a press briefing that Quinton’s body is believed to have been taken to the landfill after being placed in a dumpster at some point after he vanished on 5 October.

“We know that this is going to be a physically, mentally and emotionally gruelling task for our investigators and team,” Mr Hadley said of the narrowed search.

“We want justice for Quinton just like everyone else.”

FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Will Clarke said during the press conference that “we, along with our law enforcement partners, go into this process with heavy hearts”.

“We did not want to end up at this point. But the evidence has taken us here,” he added.

Mr Clarke said that “this will not be quick” and “it will not be easy, and the outcome is uncertain”.

The Independent’s Gustaf Kilander has more:

Missing toddler Quinton Simon believed to be buried in landfill, police say

Missing toddler Quinton Simon is believed to have been buried in a landfill, police have said.

Megan Sheets18 October 2022 17:04
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Quinton Simon’s babysitter revealed odd text sent before disappearance

The woman who babysits Quinton Simon said last week that she received an unusual text message the morning he went missing from his home in Savannah.

Speaking in an interview with WSAV on 10 October, the babysitter said she was surprised to receive a message on the morning that Quentin went missing that she would not be needed to look after Quinton and his sibling.

“I got a text this morning saying they would not be here, would not be babysitting them at 5.29 [a.m.],” said Diana McCarta, who expressed surprise at the seemnigly last-minute decision.

She continued: “Which was kind of odd because I have them even when she (their mother) doesn’t work”.

The Independent’s Gino Spocchia has the story:

Babysitter reveals odd text before Quinton Simon’s disappearance

‘I’ve been just waiting around like everyone else’, says woman

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 17:25
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Quinton’s mother first told authorities ‘someone came in and took him’

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, Leilani Simon.

She 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 dispatch call by emergency service, which has been obtained by local media, suggested the front door to the family home was found open and that Ms Simon told 911 she “Thinks someone came in and took him.”

Gino Spocchia has everything we know about the case:

Quinton Simon: What we know about search for missing toddler feared dead in Georgia

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

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 17:45
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Authorities warn of ‘mentally and physically gruelling’ search for remains

At a press conference on Tuesday, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said that the search ahead would be a “physically, mentally and emotionally gruelling task for our investigators and team.”

“We want justice for Quinton just like everyone else,” he added.

No arrests have been made in the case, according to WJCL. Quentin is believed to be buried in a landfill and his mother, Leilani Simon is considered the “prime suspect.”

FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Will Clarke said during the press conference that “we, along with our law enforcement partners, go into this process with heavy hearts”.

“We did not want to end up at this point. But the evidence has taken us here,” he added.

Mr Clarke said that “this will not be quick” and “it will not be easy, and the outcome is uncertain”.

The Independent’s Gustaf Kilander has more details:

Missing toddler Quinton Simon believed to be buried in landfill, police say

‘We know that this is going to be a physically, mentally and emotionally gruelling task for our investigators and team’

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 18:05
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Grandparents had custody of Quinton

Quinton’s grandparents have said the boy’s mother “hasn’t always done the right thing” after he vanished.

“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 his mother, Leilani 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.

Un cartel de personas desaparecidas para Quinton Simon (FBI)
Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 18:25
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Quinton’s babysitter had allegedly reported the family to DFCS

Diana McCarta told WSAV last week that she babysits Quinton and his sibling.

She said in an interview on 11 October that she had previously reported the family to Georgia’s department of families and children services (DFCS) with concerns, but this was unconfirmed.

The department told The Independent: “DHS/DFCS is bound by both state and federal law to protect the privacy of the people we serve.”

“As such, we are unable to comment on the specifics of any reported abuse or neglect cases nor confirm or deny the existence of any abuse or neglect records.”

It continued: “We take seriously every report that might be made to the Department and work with law enforcement when appropriate to ensure the safety of Georgia’s children.”

Gino Spocchia and Gustak Kilander have more details about the case:

Quinton Simon: What we know about search for missing toddler feared dead in Georgia

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

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 18:48
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Authorities have only ‘one shot’ to arrest Quinton’s mother

Georgia Police have revealed tragic developments in the investigation, saying Quinton is now feared dead.

They have zeroed their search in on a landfill nearly two weeks after he vanished in Savannah.

During a 13 October press conference, officials said they could not publicise much information on the investigation yet because they only have “one shot” to arrest and charge Ms Simon.

Asked for an update on the case against Ms Simon on Tuesday, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said: “I can’t get into that.”

Quinton Simon went missing on 5 October from his home in Savannah, Georgia (Chatham County Police Department )
Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 19:08
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Police has reviewed evidence that suggest Quinton is dead

Police said they were “saddened” to report on 12 October that they believed the 20-month-old was dead.

“The CCPD and the FBI have notified Quinton Simon’s family that we believe he is deceased,” a statement shared on Facebook said.

His mother, Leilani Simon, has been named a prime suspect.

Officials held the first press conference on the case on 13 October, where they reiterated the belief that Quinton is deceased.

“To the Chatham County community, our heart breaks along with yours trying to comprehend what we believe happened here. The FBI along with our law enforcement agencies have followed every lead, every tip and every piece of evidence to get to this point and we will continue to do so,” FBI Supervisor Senior Resident Agent Will Clarke said.

Officials did not disclose the nature of evidence suggesting Quinton is dead, or why Ms Simon is the main suspect.

The Independent’s Gino Spocchia has more:

Quinton Simon: What we know about search for missing toddler feared dead in Georgia

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

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 19:28
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FBI is assisting the search for Quinton

The FBI is supporting the Chatham County Police Department in the investigation, 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.

FBI Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Will Clarke said during a press conference on Tuesday that “we, along with our law enforcement partners, go into this process with heavy hearts”.

“We did not want to end up at this point. But the evidence has taken us here,” he added.

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 19:54
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Investigators searched several areas before announcing Quinton was believed dead

In the days after Quinton was reported missing, search warrants were carried out on a nearby pond, a backyard swimming pool and the house itself in the 500 block of Buckhalter Road in Savannah, police said.

Those areas were re-canvassed on 10 October when the pool in the backyard of the home was drained.

While it was unclear if any evidence was found or removed from it, police announced on 11 October the discovery of evidence “that we believe will help move this case forward”. That evidence went under analysis, police said.

On Tuesday 18 October, police announced that Quinton is believed to have been buried in a landfill.

The Independent’s Gino Spocchia and Gustaf Kilander have more:

Quinton Simon: What we know about search for missing toddler feared dead in Georgia

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

Andrea Blanco18 October 2022 20:25

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