Mother Charged in Death of Missing 20-Month-Old

Police to resume search of Georgia landfill for Quinton Simon next week
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2022 9:20 AM CDT
Updated Nov 21, 2022 5:09 PM CST
Police: Chances of Finding Toddler's Remains Are Slim
Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley speaks to reporters as he stands in front of a large photo of missing toddler Quinton Simon at a police operations center, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022.   (WSAV-TV via AP)
UPDATE Nov 21, 2022 5:09 PM CST

After searching in vain for a missing 20-month-old boy since early October, police in Georgia have arrested his mother on a murder charge. Leilani Simon, 22, is being detained pending a bond hearing, Chatham County police said Monday. "We do not anticipate any other arrests in connection with this case," a department statement said, the AP reports. The search for Quinton Simon's body in a landfill near Savannah will resume next week, police said.

Nov 3, 2022 9:20 AM CDT

Weeks ago, police in Georgia said there was little hope of finding missing toddler Quinton Simon alive. On Wednesday, they said the chances of even recovering the 20-month-old boy's body are low. Investigators still believe the boy's remains are in a landfill outside Savannah, but the search has been "more grueling" than anyone could imagine, the Chatham County Police Department said on Twitter Wednesday. "We knew going into this landfill search, the odds of recovering Quinton’s remains were low," police said. "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."

The department said police and FBI agents, who have gone through thousands of tons of garbage over the last two weeks, are "continuing to work tirelessly in the landfill to recover Quinton's remains." Police said the investigation "still points to Quinton being recovered in the landfill and his mother, Leilani Simon, as the primary suspect in his death and disappearance." Last month Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said the sprawling landfill was being searched because police believe the boy's body "was placed in a specific dumpster at a specific location."

Police have not disclosed what evidence led them to consider Simon the prime suspect in Quinton's disappearance; the child was reported missing on Oct. 5. No charges have been filed yet against the 22-year-old mother, whose two other children, 6-month-old Sky and 3-year-old Zayne, are now in foster care, Fox News reports. Babysitter Diana McCarta, who lives across the street from the family's home, tells Fox that she believes the boy might have drowned in the family's backyard pool. She says her 16-year-old daughter found Quinton and Zayne, who can't swim, alone in the pool over the summer. (Read more missing toddler stories.)

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