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Georgia’s missing toddler, Quinton Simon, is presumed dead

The prime suspect is the boy’s mother, Leilani Simon. No arrests have been made

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Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley speaks to reporters in Savannah, Ga.

Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley speaks to reporters in Savannah, Ga., on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, about the investigation into the suspected death of missing toddler Quinton Simon. Hadley said investigators believe the 20-month-old boy is dead based on interviews and evidence collected since the child was reported missing on Oct. 5.

Russ Bynum, Associated Press

A week after 20-month-old Quinton Simon went missing from his home in Savannah, Georgia, police announced on Wednesday that they believe the toddler to be dead. The police believe Leilani Simon, the boy’s mom, to be the prime suspect.

Driving the news: During a news conference on Thursday, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said that through gathered evidence and interviews, police and FBI reached the conclusion that they believe Quinton Simon to be dead, according to CBS affiliate WTOC.

  • No arrests have been made and Leilani Simon has not been formally charged yet, the police chief said.
  • The 22-year-old mother first reported her son missing at 9 a.m. on Oct, 5. She told police she woke up to an open door and that she believes someone took her son.

What they’re saying: People are shocked and saddened by the Quinton Simon tragedy.

  • “We know that thousands of people around the world will be heartbroken by this news, and we share your sorrow,” the Chatham County Police tweeted.
  • “She hasn’t always done the right thing,” Billie Jo Howell, Leilani Simon’s mother, told police of her daughter, according to the New York Post. “Sometimes she does really great, sometimes she doesn’t … I don’t know if I can trust her — I don’t.”
  • “My heart is broken,” Diana McCarta, the toddler’s babysitter, told NBC affiliate WSAV. “I’m not his mother, I’m not his family, but I love him very much and I just don’t know what could happen.”

Details: Police have searched for answers for over a week now, trying to find a conclusion about what happened to the toddler.

  • Police sent search dogs and investigators into the boy’s home to search for evidence earlier this week.
  • McCarta was scheduled to watch the boy the day he went missing. The sitter said that she received an “odd” text from Leilani Simon at about 5:30 a.m. that morning telling McCarta not to come, the New York Post reported.