CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. — It has been nearly a week since a 20-month-old boy disappeared from his coastal Georgia neighborhood.
Quinton Simon’s mother, 22-year-old Leilani Simon, told police that her son was in his playpen when she discovered he was missing after waking up on Wednesday morning.
Police say they did not find Quinton in hiding in his home near Savannah. They also spoke with the boy’s biological father and do not believe he was involved.
No Amber Alert was issued for the missing boy, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said, because that would require police to first determine the child had been abducted.
Police now believe that Quinton is dead and have named his mother as the prime suspect.
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Wednesday, October 5
6 a.m. - Quinton is seen in his playpen at the family’s home just outside of Savannah, Georgia.
9 a.m. - Leilani Simon wakes up and notices he is missing and calls police.
Neighbors, police from Chatham County and Savannah, the FBI, a K9 team from nearby Liberty County and a Mosquito Control helicopter joins the search for Quinton.
Nearby roads are shut down as the search continues.
Thursday, October 6
Chief Hadley holds a news conference saying they have no evidence that Quinton has been killed, so they are treating it as a missing person.
WJCL-TV speaks with Quinton’s grandparents, Thomas and Billie Jo Howell, who say their daughter, Leilani Simon, “hasn’t always done the right things.” Billie Jo Howell also told reporters, “I don’t know if I can trust her.”
Friday, October 7
While speaking to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, Chief Hadley says they are continuing their search for Quinton and that he is optimistic that the toddler is still alive.
Court records obtained by WJCL-TV show that Thomas and Billie Jo Howell have custody of Quinton and that Billie Jo Howell was trying to remove Leilani Simon and her boyfriend, Daniel Youngkin, from the home, saying “no one is living in peace.”
Chatham County police issue a statement saying detectives are working between 18 and 20 hours a day searching for Quinton.
Outdoor searches and searches of the home, including the backyard pool and a pond, continue.
Saturday, October 8
Chatham County police say the search is continuing, but they are in need of volunteers.
Sunday, October 9
Chatham County police establish a tip line for information on Quinton’s disappearance: 912-667-3134.
Police begin recanvassing specific areas previously searched for more information.
Monday, October 10
Chief Hadley holds a news conference as the investigation heads into a new week. He says they are still actively searching for Quinton while also investigating the “criminal element” of his disappearance.
Wednesday, October 12
Chatham County police said late Wednesday evening that they now believe Quinton is dead. No body has been found.
His mother, Leilani Simon, is now the prime suspect in his disappearance and death.
“We are saddened to report that CCPD and the FBI have notified Quinton Simon’s family that we believe he is deceased,” the department said on Facebook. “We know that thousands of people around the world will be heartbroken by this news, and we share your sorrow.”
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