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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Andrea Blanco

Investigators comb Georgia landfill for missing toddler Quinton Simon in eerie new images


The FBI has released chilling new images of investigators sifting through a Georgia landfill where missing toddler Quinton Simon is believed to be buried.

The images offer an insight into the “gruelling” search for Quinton after it was revealed on Tuesday that evidence led authorities to believe that the 20-months-old’s remains were disposed of in a dumpster and then taken to a Waste Management landfill in Savannah.

Quinton was reported missing on 5 October. His mother, 22-year-old Leilani Simon, made the 911 call reporting that she had woken up to find her son was gone and that she believed “someone came in and took him”, WJCL reported. Ms Simon, who has two other children who have since been removed from the home, is now the prime suspect in Quinton’s disappearance.

“We know that this is going to be a physically, mentally and emotionally gruelling task for our investigators and team,” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said during a press briefing announcing the landfill search on Tuesday. “We want justice for Quinton just like everyone else.”

Authorities have not made any arrests and said on Tuesday that they’re not releasing the nature of the evidence that led to the grim conclusions. They added that they only have “one shot” to arrest Ms Simon, who is not believed to be a flight risk.

The FBI released this photo of investigators combing through garbage in the landfill search for Quinton Simon (FBI)
The FBI released this photo of crews collecting rakes to dig through a landfill in their search for Quinton Simon (FBI)

The photos released on Tuesday show more than 20 crew members dressed in white forensic suits, heavy-duty boots and neon vests as they rake through the garbage.

It is unclear how many investigators are actively conducting the search, but authorities warned that it could take days and that potential results were “uncertain.”

Quinton went missing two weeks ago from his home in Savannah, a coastal city on the border between Georgia and South Carolina, in Chatham County. He was last seen at about 6am that day at an address in the 500 block of Buckhalter Road, and was reported missing by Ms Simon around 9.40am.

The FBI released this photo of agents overseeing the landfill search for Quinton Simon (FBI)

She told police her son was playing in a playpen when he was last seen, although earlier reports suggested Quinton had wandered off, CNN reported.

On 10 October, the woman who babysat Quinton told WSAV that she had received an unusual text message the morning he went missing.

“I got a text this morning saying they would not be here, would not be babysitting them at 5.29 [a.m.],” Diana McCarta told the outlet.

“And then I get a text at 9am saying have I seen Quinton,” said Ms McCarta of her exchange with Quinton’s mother. “I immediately go to their house. I try to help them look, they didn’t want that. So, I’ve been just waiting around like everyone else.”

Quinton Simon, aged 20 months, and his mother Leilani Simon. (Screenshot / WJCL / Facebook / Billie Jo Howell)

Quinton’s grandparents reportedly had guardianship of him. Court documents in a custody case obtained by the US Sun allege that Ms Simon had problems with substance abuse and her parents had custody of at least two of her children.

Billie Jo Howell, Ms Simon’s mother, had tried to get Ms Simon and her boyfriend Daniel Youngkin to leave the residence, WJCL also reported.

“She hasn’t always done the right thing,” Ms Howell previously said about her daughter in the 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.”

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