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Georgia Mom Indicted On 19 Counts, Including Murder, For The Death Of Toddler Son Quinton Simon

Prosecutors allege that Leilani Simon killed her 20-month-old son Quinton during an assault with an unknown object, then claimed he had been abducted by a stranger, according to the indictment released Wednesday.

By Jill Sederstrom
Tragic and Disturbing Cases of Child Abuse

A Georgia mother has been indicted on murder charges in the death of her 20-month-old son Quinton Simon, after authorities allege she fatally assaulted her son with an unknown object.

Leilani Maree Simon, 22, was indicted Wednesday by a Chatham County grand jury on 19 charges, including malice murder, two counts of felony murder, concealing the death of another and 14 counts of making a false statement to authorities.

“When any person, particularly a child of tender years, is murdered, harmed, victimized or goes missing in our community, it’s a matter that calls our very humanity into question,” Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones said at a Wednesday press conference streamed by WTOC-TV.  “These are the cases that keep us up at night. These are the cases that deserve justice.”

The indictment alleges that Leilani Simon assaulted her 20-month-old son Quinton on Oct. 5 “with an object that when used offensively against a person did result in serious bodily injury.” The nature of the object was “unknown” to the grand jury, according to the court documents obtained by Law & Crime.

RELATED: Grandmother Of Georgia Toddler Found Dead In Landfill Arrested For Contempt Of Court

While discussing the felony murder charges, prosecutors alleged that Simon “did commit the offense of cruelty to a child in the first degree” by causing “cruel and excessive physical pain, in a manner unknown grand jury at this time,” causing the young toddler’s death.

They say she then tried to hide her son’s death from authorities by “discarding him in the dumpster at Azalea Mobile Home Plaza,” according to the indictment.

She later admitted to authorities that she had been to the dumpster but claimed she was only throwing away “normal household garbage” and later said she “did not remember what she had done there,” authorities said.

A police handout of Leilani Simon

Simon, who is also facing one count of filing a false report, went on to report her son missing that same day, “implying that Quinton Simon had been abducted by an unknown intruder.”

A week after he disappeared, Chatham County Police announced that they believed the young boy was dead and named Simon as the “prime suspect.”

Police and the FBI spent weeks searching through the Waste Management Landfill site in Chatham County before the young boy’s remains were discovered on Nov. 18. Simon was arrested three days later.

On Wednesday, Jones credited investigators' hard work with allowing them to file the charges.

“These men and women worked very long hours, turning shifts for six weeks straight working tirelessly and would not quit until Quinton’s body was found. Were it not for their tireless efforts, we would not have been able to take the first step on the long road to justice as we have today,” she said.

The indictment also revealed new details about false statements Simon allegedly made as the investigation into her son’s disappearance progressed.

Simon told police that she had left her home in the “late hours” of Oct. 4 to meet her drug dealer, “falsely stating the purpose of this meeting was to pay an existing drug debt,” the indictment alleges.

She also “falsely” told investigators on the day her son disappeared that the “only controlled substance of which she was a regular user of was marijuana,” and allegedly claimed it was the only drug she had used in the last 24 hours, something investigators now believe was a lie, according to the court documents.

At one point in the investigation, authorities allege that Simon admitted to leaving the home in the early morning hours of Oct. 5, but claimed she had gone to a gas station to meet her friend “Misty” to get some Orajel. However, investigators now believe that Simon had really been dumping her son’s body in the dumpster of the mobile home park, according to the indictment.

Many of the specific details of the case were not revealed.

Jones said Wednesday that, although police had collected “copious amounts” of evidence in the case, authorities did not plan to release many of the details until the case goes to court.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation as prosecutors we are duty bound to preserve the judicial process by not making out of court statements about the case and by not releasing evidence in the case,” she said. “I want you to know that this is not about hiding anything and our goal is always to be transparent with members of the public, however, it is very important that we preserve the sanctity of the judicial process.”

She did say, however, that she was “confident” in the case presented by prosecutors to the grand jury.