On November 21, Monday, the Chatham County Police Department announced that 20-month-old Quinton Simon's mother has been charged with his disappearance and murder after the toddler's remains were discovered in a landfill.
The New York Post reported that on October 5, 22-year-old Leilani Simon reported Quinton Simon missing to Georgia authorities. Leilani Simon said that she believed her son had been kidnapped from his playpen.
The Daily Beast reported that in the initial phone call, she had implicated the boy's biological father, 24-year-old Henry Moss.
On November 18, Friday, officers from the Chatham County Police Department announced that they had recovered Quinton Simon's remains. While they had identified Leilani Simon as a suspect in the boy's death last month, the charges were only filed after the body was found.
Authorities currently believe that the mother killed the child, disposed of the body in a dumpster that would eventually end up at the landfill, then reported the murder in order to alleviate suspicion.
Leilani Simon's mother told authorities she did not trust her daughter
WSAV reported that at a Monday press conference, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said that while authorities were awaiting the results of a DNA test following the recovery of the body in the landfill, they had reason to believe it was that of the 20-month-old toddler.
“We feel that we have a very strong case. (Leilani Simon) doesn’t deserve a Thanksgiving, frankly. Quinton deserves that.”
After confirming that the remains found at the landfill were human, Hadley added:
“We have every reason to believe that this will confirm the remains are Quinton’s."
He added that Leilani Simon is currently at the Chatham County Detention Center, where she is awaiting a bond hearing. Hadley said that the mother is believed to have acted alone, and authorities do not plan on making any further arrests.
In an official Twitter post, the Chatham County Police Department addressed the case further:
“We are deeply saddened by this case, but we are thankful that we are one step closer to justice for little (Quinton Simon)."
According to The Post, Leilani Simon emerged as a suspect after her mother, Billie Jo Howell, told officers that she did not trust her daughter.
Howell had said:
"(Leilani) hasn’t always done the right thing."
According to members of the community, Leilani Simon emerged as a suspect among locals after she allegedly began taking part in what was perceived to be questionable behavior.
A staff member at Sting Ray's, a bar in Tybee Island, Georgia, said he found it strange how jovial Leilani Simon seemed when she visited the bar with her mother a few weeks ago when authorities were still searching for her son.
He said that Leilani Simon had come with her mother, Howell.
“They were here, they drank, they left. (They were having) a great time, like they didn’t have a care in the world. They were drinking Patron shots in the deck area, being loud and laughing. It’s almost like they were trying to draw attention to themselves."
The case currently remains under investigation.