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

Questions surround the recent arrest of Billie Jo Betterton — whose daughter, Leilani Simon, stands accused of murdering her 20-month-old son Quinton Simon — for contempt of court. 

By Jax Miller
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The custodial grandmother of a toddler whose body was recently discovered in a Georgia landfill is now in jail herself.

Billie Jo Betterton, 45, was arrested Monday and booked into the Chatham County Detention Center, according to jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com. Betterton was charged with contempt of court, according to NBC Savannah affiliate WSAV-TV, with jail records showing she was arrested with the Chatham County Juvenile Court.

Although officials could not release the reasons behind the recent arrest, it does not seem to be directly connected with the disappearance and death of her grandson, 20-month-old Quinton Simon.

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No bond has been set, records show.

Betterton, also known as Billie Jo Howell, is the mother of Leilani Simon, 22, who faces murder charges connected with her toddler son’s disappearance and death.

A police handout of Billie Jo Betterton

Betterton was the custodial grandparent of Quinton Simon when he disappeared on Oct. 5 from their Buckhalter Road residence in Savannah. Betterton was also the legal guardian of Quinton’s 3-year-old brother, who also lived in the home, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Leilani and her children lived at her parents’ home with Leilani’s live-in boyfriend, Daniel Youngkin — the last known person to see Quinton Simon alive. Youngkin reported he last saw Quinton in his playpen at around 6:00 a.m. the day he disappeared, but Leilani claimed that, when she woke at around 9:40 a.m., Quinton was nowhere to be found.

She alleged that someone had possibly abducted him because the boy was not tall enough to open the door on his own.

On Oct. 12, investigators named Leilani as the “prime suspect” in Quinton’s disappearance, stating they believed the boy was placed in a “specific dumpster” that found its way to a Savannah-area landfill.

Searchers had the massive undertaking of sifting through 1.2 million pounds of trash at the landfill, a search described by authorities as “grueling and hazardous.”

On Nov. 18 — more than a month after Quinton disappeared — searchers found human remains at the Superior landfill, later confirmed to be those of Quinton. The boy’s mother was subsequently charged with malice murder, concealing the death of another person, and making false statements regarding Quinton’s disappearance and death.

Leilani pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to CBS Savannah affiliate WTOC-TV.

The child’s cause and manner of death have yet to be released.

On Sept. 7 — several weeks before Quinton disappeared — Chatham County authorities had responded to a domestic dispute between Leilani and her mom, Betterton, over a washing machine which had allegedly became physical, per the Savannah Morning News.

Betterton accused Leilani of not paying rent for her, Youngkin and the children, and one of Leilani’s siblings reportedly accused Leilani of stealing from Betterton to support her alleged drug habit.

The following day, Betterton filed to have Leilani and Youngkin evicted from her Buckhalter Road residence, according to court documents obtained by the Savannah Morning News.

“Not looking to be compensated,” Betterton wrote in the filing, according to NBC News. “Just want them to move out as quick as possible. They have damaged my property and, at this point, no one is living in peace.”

The eviction notice was served a week later. One week before Quinton’s disappearance, a judge signed an order for Leilani to pay child support to Betterton for both children, according to the NBC affiliate.

A court clerk for the Chatham County Juvenile court said the recent case against Betterton is now closed and that discussing the holding charge could “affect a fair trial or hearing,” WSAV-TV reported.

Neither a court date nor a legal representative was listed in jail records.