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Georgia police crack down on protesters outside Quinton Simon’s home as landfill search drags on

Leilani Simon continues to be the prime suspect in the 12 October disappearance and possible death of her son

Andrea Blanco
Tuesday 08 November 2022 00:10 GMT
Investigators search landfill for body of missing child

Police investigating the disappearance of a 20-month-old boy in Georgia are limiting protesters outside his mother’s home.

The Chatham County Police said on Friday that although the department supports the constitutional right to peacefully protest, officers will be enforcing ordinances outside the Savannah residence of 22-year-old Leilani Simon, the mother of missing Quinton Simon.

Ms Simon continues to be the prime suspect in the 5 October disappearance and possible death of her son. In a statement on Friday, Chatham police said that YouTubers morbidly obsessed with the case and protesters outside Ms Simon’s residence have disturbed residents.

Quinton Simon disappeared on 5 October (Chatham County Police Department )

Recent arrests following disputes between protesters have made it clear that it is the right time “to take a stricter interpretation of the ordinances,” the department added. One of the ordinances requires people to have a permit to “assemble” outside Simon’s home, while a loitering ordinance will take place from 7pm until 7am every day.

“The behavior of many YouTubers and people calling themselves protestors has gone beyond anything acceptable in a civil society,” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said in the statement. “We have to return the neighborhood back to the residents. It is their neighborhood.”

The measure comes more than a month after Quinton was last seen and three weeks after Chatham Police and the FBI began an arduous search for Quinton’s remains in the Savannah Waste Management Landfill, where the toddler is thought to be after his body was likely disposed of in a dumpster.

Local police said that the constant disturbances outside Ms Simon’s home have taken precious resources away from the department during an already gruelling investigation.

Last week, the department said that they remained committed to the search for Quinton, but the chances to find him are low.

“We have spent two weeks digging through thousands of tons of garbage.. We knew going into this landfill search, the odds of recovering Quinton’s remains were low,” a statement read. “Most landfill searches do not end in a recovery due to many factors including volume of trash to search and compression of the debris, however we stay focused.”

Shared with the update was a picture of the landfill where FBI agents are canvassing through trash in hopes to find Quinton. By the site, a picture of the little boy.

The Waste Management Landfill where a search for Quinton’s remains is taking place (Chatham County Police )

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

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.

A dispatch call by emergency services, 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.”

Diana McCarta, who told WSAV she babysits the two children, 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.

“I got a text this morning saying they would not be here, would not be babysitting them at 5.29 [a.m.],” said Ms McCarta, who expressed surprise at the seemingly last-minute decision, which was kind of odd because I have them even when she (their mother) doesn’t work.”

Leilani Simon is the prime suspect in the disappearance of her son (Screenshot / WJCL / Facebook / Billie Jo Howell)

Mr Hadley said at a press briefing on 18 October that Quinton was believed to be dead and his remains were thought to be buried in a landfill.

As the FBI wrapped up the first day of searching for Quinton’s body, local news station WSAV first reported that Ms Simon and her mother Billie Jo Howell were seen drinking at Sting Ray’s, a bar in the neighbouring Tybee Island.

On 24 October, Ms Simon made her first media appearance, saying she’s “not hiding” and hopes her son is found “happy and alive” even as police consider her the prime suspect.

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