Leilani Simon, mother of missing toddler Quinton Simon, is arrested

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The mother of a child who went missing Oct. 5 in Georgia has been arrested in connection with the child’s disappearance and presumed death, authorities said Monday.

The Chatham County Police Department, in a post on Twitter, said officers arrested Leilani Simon, 22, for malicious murder, concealment of another person’s death, misrepresentation and misrepresentation involving her son, Quinton Simon, 20 months.

Police Chief Jeff Hadley, at a news conference later Monday, said Simon was the only suspect since the child was first reported missing.

“It’s a heartbreaking development,” Hadley said. “From the start, we hoped to find him alive and unharmed. But the evidence has always pointed to the mother and we believe her remains were found in the landfill.

Human remains were found in a landfill Friday and the FBI, which helped with the search and other aspects of the case, is working to confirm the remains are those of the child, Hadley said.

“It could be days before we have full confirmation,” said Will Clarke, the senior supervising resident agent for the FBI offices in Savannah and Brunswick.

“What happened to this child should not happen to anyone, let alone someone who should be his protector,” he added.

Hadley said Simon was transported to Chatham County Detention Center where she will await a bail hearing. Simon did not have a phone number listed and it was unclear as of Monday if she had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf. Court records showed she had represented herself in two civil cases filed since March relating to custody of her children and child support.

“We do not anticipate any further arrests in connection with this case,” Hadley said.

“We are deeply saddened by this case, but grateful to have taken another step towards justice for little Quinton,” the police department said in its Twitter post announcing the arrest.

Hadley said they are still determining whether to continue searching the dump in light of Friday’s findings and will speak with the FBI before that decision is made.

“We are confident that these are Quinton’s remains,” Hadley said, explaining why authorities decided to arrest Simon.

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