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Police Searching Georgia Landfill For Remains Of 20-Month-Old Toddler Missing For Two Weeks
Police are searching a Georgia landfill for toddler Quinton Simon, whom they believe is likely deceased. Authorities named his mother as their lead suspect.
Authorities are now searching a landfill outside of Savannah, Georgia for a 20-month-old baby boy missing since Oct. 5.
As Oxygen.com previously reported, police said last week that they believe Quinton Simon is likely dead and identified his mother, Leilani Simon, as the lead suspect.
“We believe that he was placed in a specific dumpster at a specific location, and it was brought here by regular means of disposal,” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday. “I have every belief that we will find his remains here at the landfill.”
Dozens of FBI agents are assisting police with the search at the landfill, Will Clarke, a supervisory agent for the bureau’s satellite office in Savanah told the Associated Press.
“We did not want to end up at this point, but the evidence has taken us here,” Clarke said according to ABC affiliate WJCL. “We’re not just randomly searching this landfill. We have evidence — specific evidence that leads us to this large property.”
Agents from Quantico and Atlanta have joined other officers already assigned to the Savannah area to search the landfill, WJCL reported.
“This will not be quick, it will not be easy, and the outcome is uncertain,” Clarke said, according to AP.
According to multiple reports, the relationship between Leilani Simon and her mother, Billie Jo Howell, who had legal custody of Quinton and his two other siblings, was strained in the weeks leading up to the boy’s disappearance.
Simon and her boyfriend lived with Howell, who was trying to have the couple evicted from her home, according to local news station WTOC-TV.
Simon accused her mother of pushing her against a wall after they argued over laundry on Sept. 7, AP reported citing a police report.
On Sept. 8, Howell initiated proceedings with the Chatham County Magistrate to have the couple kicked out of her home.
Nearly three weeks later, on Sept. 28, a Superior Court Judge ordered Simon to pay $150 a month in child support.
One week later, she reported the little boy missing.
“We’re not ready to charge anyone yet,” Hadley told reporters on Tuesday when asked why no arrests or charges had been made. “We still have work to do. We still have an investigation to do. We’re not going to do anything preemptively that would harm a future prosecution.”
WTOC also reported that Simon was in Chatham County Juvenile Court for a preliminary hearing about the custody and safety of Quinton’s two other siblings — a six-month-old and a three-year-old — on Monday.
The station said their reporters were forced to leave after the judge barred cameras from the hearing. Others were placed under a gag order and not permitted to discuss what happened during the hearing.
These hearings typically take place about three days after a child has been removed from the home under an emergency order, WTOC reported.
“She hasn’t always done the right thing,” Howell said of her daughter after Simon was reported missing, according to WJCL. “Sometimes she does really great, sometimes she doesn’t. I don’t know what to think right now. I don’t know what to believe, because I don’t think anybody ever believes this is going to happen to them. 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.”