CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) — At just 20 months old, Quinton Simon was last seen on Oct. 5 in Savannah. WSAV has told you a lot about the search to find him and what has now turned into a recovery effort to find his body, but to tell you about the environment he was living in before his disappearance, we have to back up several weeks.
Police were called to Quinton’s grandparent’s home, where Quinton, his mother, her boyfriend, two other children and the grandparents live.
There was a fight between Quinton’s mom Leilani Simon and her mother Billie Jo Howell, a police report said.
Leilani called the cops on her mom when officers showed up. She told them she was on probation and didn’t want trouble. WSAV doesn’t know what that probation is for.
The report said when police officers talked with Leilani’s brother, he told them that Quinton’s mom had a history of stealing and used the money to buy drugs.
Billie Jo Howell wanted her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend evicted from the house.
She filed for eviction and according to the document she didn’t want any money, just her 22-year-old daughter Leilani, her boyfriend Daniel Youngkin and the three kids to leave and quickly.
Howell wrote that they damaged her property and “no one is living in peace.”
Leilani and Daniel found out about the eviction but WSAV now knows, as recently as last Wednesday the two were still living there.
That gets us to Wednesday, the morning little Quinton was last seen.
At 5:29 a.m., Diana McCarta, who babysits Quinton, got a text message. She told WSAV it was Quinton’s mom saying McCarta didn’t have to watch the kids that morning.
Police told us the boyfriend — who we know now is Daniel Youngkin — left for work at 6 a.m. Police say that’s the last time Quinton was seen.
At 9 a.m., another text to McCarta — this time from a grandparent — asking if she had seen the toddler. The 9-1-1 call to report Quinton missing was placed 42 minutes later.
The WSAV Investigative Unit asked Chatham County Police for that call and so far they haven’t responded to our request.
WSAV knows from the family, Leilani told police that Quinton’s father took the child. The family said that story didn’t make sense and by 2:30 that afternoon, police said the father wasn’t involved.
By Wednesday night, the effort to find Quinton involved the FBI, two helicopters, a drone, police on horses, tracking dogs and officers going door to door.
Thursday we watched federal agents search dumpers, ditches, drain pipes, and the woods.
Chatham County Police say that they will be re-canvassing some specific areas as they continue to work to find Quinton Simon. According to police, volunteers are not yet needed.
The FBI continues to provide assistance and support.
WSAV News 3 has also obtained dispatch audio from last Wednesday.
The Chatham County Police Department also released a new tip line for tips regarding the missing toddler, Quinton Simon.
To submit a tip about the case and speak directly with a detective, the public is asked to call 912-667-3134. The number is only for information that might help law enforcement locate Quinton.
Investigators used a pump to drain the swimming pool in the backyard of Quinton’s grandparents’ home. That pool and the home are two of the places Chatham County Investigators and federal agents are searching again.
The WSAV Investigative Unit was told Monday that the 9-1-1 call Leilani Simon made at 9:42 last Wednesday morning and the body camera video of officers searching this home for little Quinton, are both part of an ongoing investigation.
The Chatham County Attorney’s Office told WSAV those weren’t available because of an ongoing investigation.
WSAV uncovered an exclusive new detail showing that Simon’s grandmother, Billie Jo Howell, did in fact have legal custody of Quinton and his older brother. Quinton’s mom was also ordered to pay child support for the two boys.
Court documents show Leilani Simon had been to court and knew she would be ordered to pay. The judge’s ruling was signed exactly one week before Quinton disappeared and filed the morning of his disappearance.
WSAV obtained an exclusive video of a heated exchange between Quinton Simon’s grandmother and his babysitter.
“This is my baby, not yours,” Quinton’s grandmother Billie Jo Howell is heard saying the video.
His babysitter told WSAV, she talked to DFCS and so did other people in that neighborhood.
The video — which McCarta’s daughter recorded — shows Quinton’s grandmother in Quinton’s babysitter’s house.
“Hit me, hit me,” McCarta says in the video. Howell responds, “Do you think I would do that?”
McCarta says Quinton’s grandmother barged through her backdoor mad over the thought of a memorial.
“You’re awful to say you’re going to put up a memorial,” Howell says. “My baby’s not dead.”
“I think that she’s trying to take the heat off of them,” McCarta said.
McCarta told WSAV on Tuesday that she had called DFCS about Quinton and his siblings before.
“Yes, absolutely,” McCarta said when asked if DFCS told her about the active case.
No arrests have been made, CCPD said.
“We know that thousands of people around the world will be heartbroken by this news, and we share your sorrow,” CCPD said in a tweet Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, Lelani Simon was seen for the first time since all of this began. Leilani was driving out of her mom’s driveway, blocking her face and ignoring the media as she pulled out of the driveway.
The person who got in the car with her told WSAV they weren’t talking.
Lelani hasn’t said anything since her little boy went missing.
The search for a missing Chatham County toddler has become a recovery mission. Investigators say they are now looking for little Quinton Simon’s body.
The Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley told WSAV they now have evidence that the child is dead. Investigators tell us the child’s mother is the one and only suspect in the case.
“Sadly, we still have not found Quinton,” Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said at a press conference Thursday.
Leilani is the only suspect, according to police. Leilani called 9-1-1 the morning Quinton went missing and told police that she thought someone took her child.
“Leilani’s story doesn’t add up,” Quinton’s grandmother, Billie Jo Howell said.
From the start, Quinton’s grandparents didn’t believe that story. His grandmother told WSAV’s Investigative Unit that her daughter doesn’t remember anything from the morning Quinton went missing.
Her and her husband Thomas are both in shock that Quinton isn’t just missing.
“We know that millions of people fell in love with Quinton Simon the moment they saw his face and learned of his disappearance,” Hadley said.
Police continued to gather and analyze evidence in the case. However, there were no searches conducted on Oct. 14 through 16.
Monday marked day 12 of the search for Quinton. The little boy’s name and his disappearance have gained national attention.
“How could this baby get out of a pack and play, get out the door through the neighborhood and so far away he can’t be found,” Nancy Grace said.
Quinton was the topic of Monday’s episode of Fox Nation’s podcast, Crime Stories with Nancy Grace. Grace, the host and popular legal analyst, told WSAV after the episode that the story Quinton’s mom, Leilani Simon told the cops, is downright disturbing.
“The biological mom cast the blame on the bio dad,” Grace said. “ He was not part of this child’s life, who lived a fair distance away and apparently has an alibi. Now, that’s according to reports. Maybe we’ve all got it wrong. But I tell you one thing. If my child disappeared on my watch, I would be going door-to-door myself I wouldn’t have to call the cops.”
Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said that they will be conducting an extensive search of the Waste Management landfill located in Chatham County after gathering key evidence that led law enforcement to the area.
Hadley said that they believe that Quinton’s body was thrown in a dumpster and later transported to the landfill off Little Neck Road near L. Scott Stell Park. Police would not tell WSAV where that dumpster came from and they mentioned that they were able to target the section of this dump where that trash was delivered.
“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,” Hadley said.
Daily searchers from the Chatham County Police Department and FBI along with dozens of support personnel will complete the operation. According to police, The FBI’s Evidence Response team is heading the landfill search and will be as precise and extensive as possible to find Quinton’s remains and other potential evidence.
Quinton Simon’s mom was at a Tybee Island bar on Tuesday night just hours after federal agents left a landfill looking for the body of her 20-month-old little boy.
Wednesday, day two of that search started at sunrise with agents who are specially trained to look for evidence among the trash.
Leilani Simon, the only suspect in her son’s disappearance, her mother Billie Jo Howell and others were at StingRay’s, a popular Tybee Island bar on Tuesday night just hours after the search for Quinton wrapped up.
WSAV learned from the people who waited on them that they took shots, got flirty and even demanded one waiter’s phone number. The group allegedly ran up a tab worth $300.
Police said the landfill search was suspended on Saturday and Sunday. Instead, investigators would conduct several interviews and analyze evidence. They did not say who they were interviewing.
Police arrested four people that were protesting outside the home of missing toddler Quinton Simon on Friday and Saturday night.
Saturday night one protestor was arrested after they were reportedly banging on the windows and doors of the home. Police identified the protester as Kimberly Thayer and charged her with criminal trespassing.
On Friday night, Police say that had to visit the Buckhalter Road home twice on after receiving complaints of people acting disorderly. Three of the protestors blocked the driveway of the home which prevented people from leaving.
The Chatham County Police Department has arrested Leilani Simon in connection with the disappearance and murder of her son, Quinton Simon. Simon is currently being held at the Chatham Country Detention center as she awaits a bond hearing.
At 6:01 p.m., the Chatham County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a press conference providing more details on what led up to Leilani Simon’s arrest.
According to police, remains were found at the landfill that Law Enforcement had been searching on Friday, Nov. 18. The remains were sent off for testing and later confirmed to be human. Now, police are waiting for additional tests to confirm whether or not the remains belong to the missing baby.
Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Will Clarke both stated they believed the remains found in the landfill belonged to Quinton Simon.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta confirmed that the human remains found at the Superior Landfill belonged to Quinton Simon.
The Chatham County Police Department (CCPD) says that operations at the Superior Landfill have ended and officials have begun removing Command Post facilities from L. Scott Stell Park.
Leilani Simon was indicted on charges of death, disposal and concealment, among other charges, in her 20-month-old son Quinton Simon’s death.
According to the District Attorney, Simon is facing a 19-count indictment including one count of malice murder for the intentional killing of Quinton and two counts of felony murder.
The FBI is still in possession of Quinton Simon’s remains.
What was found of the little boy’s body continues to undergo testing in a crime lab, a spokesperson for the FBI said.