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Police Announce Missing Georgia Toddler Is Likely Dead, Name His Mother As 'Prime Suspect' In His Disappearance And Death

In a Wednesday announcement about Quinton Simon, police said, “We know that thousands of people around the world will be heartbroken by this news, and we share your sorrow."

By Jill Sederstrom
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Chatham County Police believe a missing Georgia toddler is likely dead and have named his mother as a “prime suspect” in his disappearance.

“We are saddened to report that the CCPD and the FBI have notified Quinton Simon’s family that we believe he is deceased,” police said in a tweet Wednesday night. “We have named his mother, Leilani Simon, as the prime suspect in his disappearance and death. But, no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.”

Police plan to hold a press conference Thursday to share more details about why they have reached the heartbreaking conclusion, but provided no further information Wednesday night.

“We know that thousands of people around the world will be heartbroken by this news, and we share your sorrow,” police said.

RELATED: No Signs Of Georgia Toddler Who Mysteriously Vanished From Home Nearly A Week Ago

Quinton was reported missing from his home in the 500 block of Buckhalter around 9 a.m. on Oct. 5. According to the 20-month-old’s family, the toddler, who was wearing a light blue Sesame Street shirt and black pants at the time of his disappearance, had not been seen since 6 a.m. that morning, police said previously.

“Complainant advised her 1-year-old son is missing,” a dispatcher can be heard saying in a 911 call obtained by WJCL. “She woke up, her door was open. Advised he’s unable to open a door. Thinks someone came in and took him."

A police handout of Quinton Simon

Police said on Tuesday, after nearly a week of searching for the toddler in collaboration with the FBI, that they had seized evidence in the case that they believed “would help move this case forward” but did not specify what the evidence was or where it had been taken from.

Police have previously said they did not suspect foul play was involved.

Quinton had lived at the home with his mother, her boyfriend, his siblings and his maternal grandparents, who are the child’s legal guardians, according to WSAV-TV.  

Quinton’s grandfather Thomas Howell previously told NewsNation that Leilani’s story about how the child disappeared did not make sense.

“She’s lied to us before so many times. I don’t know. It’s bad to say, but she just likes to lie,” he said.

Quinton’s babysitter Diana McCarta also told the news outlet she had gotten a strange text from Leilani Simon around 5:30 a.m. the morning Quinton disappeared saying that she would not be needed that day and then later received a text from the boy’s grandmother, Billie Jo Howell, around 9 a.m. asking if she’d seen him that day.

“I immediately go to their house and try to help them look, but they didn’t want that,” she said. “So, I have just been waiting around like everyone else.”

McCarta said that her “heart was broken” about the young boy’s disappearance.

I’m not his mother, I’m not his family but I love him very much and I just don’t know what could have happened,” she said at the time.