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Authorities Say Missing Georgia Toddler Was Discarded in Dumpster and Taken to Landfill — and Mom Is Still Considered a Suspect

Quinton Simon

Quinton Simon

Authorities believe missing Georgia toddler Quinton Simon is dead and that the 20-month-old’s body tragically went to a local landfill after being discarded in a dumpster.

“We believe that he was placed in a specific dumpster at a specific location, and it was brought here by regular means,” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told reporters in a press conference on Tuesday.

Responding to a question, the chief declined to answer if it was a gas station dumpster along I-95.

Police previously announced that they think the boy is dead and that his mother Leilani Simon is a suspect. On Tuesday, however, Hadley said there are still no charges in this case, and they do not believe the mother is a flight risk.

“Is Leilani Simon still the only suspect?” a reporter asked.

“She is,” the chief said.

Hadley declined to explain why they do not think she is a flight risk. When asked why there are no charges, it said it was too soon.

“Because we’re not ready to charge anyone yet,” he said. “We still have work to do. We still have an investigation to do, and we are not going to do anything preemptively that would harm future prosecution.”

“We want justice for Quinton just like everybody else, and we want to find his remains so we can give him a proper resting place,” he said.

Joined by FBI Senior Supervisory Resident Agent Will Clark of the Savannah office, Hadley said specific evidence led them to that landfill. He declined to specify what evidence.

“We are not just randomly searching this landfill,” Clark said. “We have evidence, specific evidence, that leads us to this large property.”

Investigators are not searching the entire landfill, he said. It is just a specific area. Responding to a reporter’s question, Clark confirmed that no more trash was coming in, and that this was based on where the trash was coming from.

“As the chief said, we want justice for Quinton, and we want to find him a proper resting place,” he said.

“I have every belief that we will find his remains here at the landfill,” Hadley said.

Asked why there was no AMBER Alert, the chief said this case did not meet the criteria. There was no specific information on an abduction, he said. There was neither a suspect nor vehicle description.

The CCPD previously said that Quinton Simon’s disappearance did not appear to be the result of a child custody dispute and that his biological father is not a suspect in his mysterious disappearance. Even so, there was demonstrable friction between the grandparents and the child’s mother.

“She hasn’t always done the right thing,” grandmother Billie Jo Howell previously said of her daughter in a WJCL report. “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.”

Simon’s grandparents have custody of the missing boy and his 3-year-old brother, according to court documents obtained by the station. Those same court documents show a longstanding dispute between Simon’s grandparents and his mother over efforts to remove her and her boyfriend from the residence.

“They have damaged my property and at this point no one is living in peace,” Billie Jo Howell wrote in the filing.

[Image via Chatham County Police Department]

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