SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — It has now been more than two weeks since Quinton Simon was last seen. The 20-month-old toddler is the center of a massive search effort that now focuses on a Chatham County landfill.
Only the WSAV Investigative Unit has the photo of the toddler’s mom out drinking at a beach bar as the first day of the landfill search wrapped up.
Why isn’t Leilani Simon, the only suspect in this case, in jail?
Quite honestly it is likely because she’s not a threat to the general public, that’s the opinion of a law enforcement expert WSAV asked on Thursday.
It’s the picture that so many people are talking about, Leilani at a Tybee Island bar Tuesday night. Servers told WSAV that her mom Billie Joe Howell was with her. With a few other people, we’ve learned they ran up a tab over $300.
That happened while dozens of federal agents and Chatham County investigators continued their search for her son.
“Not necessarily the public pressure, but a deep desire to find that child’s body,” said Art Acevedo, a former police chief in Austin, Houston, and Miami.
Acevedo provided his insight on why police haven’t arrested anyone in Quinton’s case.
“A parent kills a child. More than likely is a low risk to a stranger due to the greater society,” Acevedo said.
An arrest could simply be on hold because police believe they will find Quinton’s body.
“If you think you have a lead with the bodies, that, like appears you do in your case, it’s important to be patient,” Acevedo said.
Thursday, the WSAV Investigative Unit learned new details, about Quiton’s mom’s past. Leilani, who told police last month she was on probation, was charged with a felony last year.
Leilani was accused of stealing two packs of cigarettes, a bag of popcorn and a drink from the truck stop where she worked in North Carolina at the time.
Chatham County police have said when they bring charges in Quiton’s case, there won’t be any doubt about them.
Back to the terms of her probation, Leilani is five months in a 12-month term. She’s supposed to do 48 hours of community service and couldn’t commit another serious crime.
Thursday, there was nothing significant that those searchers found in that landfill and they will be back at sunrise Friday.