The mother of missing toddler Quinton Simon has been arrested after police found human remains in a Savannah, Georgia, landfill on Friday, authorities said. Leilani Simon, 22, was arrested on Monday and is being held at the Chatham County Detention Center where she will await a bond hearing, Chatham County Police Department said.
Simon has been charged with malice, murder, hiding another person's death, false reporting, and making false claims in connection with her son's disappearance and death. Quinton was reported missing by his mother Simon on October 5. Days later Simon was named as the prime suspect in the 20-month-old boy's disappearance and murder.
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Police on Monday made the announcement of Simon's arrest on Facebook and also said that no additional arrests are expected. Following her arrest, police confirmed during a press conference on Monday finding the human remains of a child on Friday evening, according to Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley.
"Our search teams at the waste management landfill found what they believed were human remains this afternoon. The FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia confirmed that they are in fact human remains and additional testing including DNA analysis is being conducted and we have every reason to believe that this will confirm the remains are Quentin's," Chatham County Police Department Chief Jeff Hadley said.
DNA testing is currently being conducted. "This is a heartbreaking development for everyone who loved Quentin for the many people who came to know him after his disappearance and for our department when we first received the call that Quentin was missing, we were hopeful that we would find him alive and unharmed."
"But as we have been telling you for weeks all of our evidence pointed to his mother being responsible for his death and disappearance and his remains being found in the landfill."
Announcing Simon's arrest, Chatham County Police Department later tweeted: "We are deeply saddened by this case, but we are thankful that we are one step closer to justice for little Quinton."
The hunt for the Little Neck Landfill started a month ago, according to Hadley, and eventually, the partial remains of a human infant were discovered on Friday.
"We had every belief that Quinton was at the landfill," Hadley said during a question-and-answer session with journalists.
Additional testing is currently being done to ensure that the bones are truly Quinton's after the bones were delivered to a lab. Police said they have a "high level of confidence" that they are of the youngsters, and a decision will probably be made within a few days.
Simon first reported her son missing around 9 am on October 5. He was said to have last been seen at the Savannah residence she shared with her boyfriend, her 3-year-old son, and her mother, who was in charge of both of her kids.
"Since that time, millions of people have followed Quinton's case and have been awaiting answers," police tweeted Monday.
Simon allegedly informed dispatchers that she thought someone had taken her son from his playpen after she woke up to find a door open before 9 a.m. However, Simon texted Diana McCarta, Quinton's babysitter, a few hours prior to the 911 call to change the day's arrangements.
"I got a text this morning saying they would not be here — would not be babysitting them at 5:29 [a.m.]. Which was kind of odd because I have them even when she doesn't work," McCarta told WSAV.
Danny Youngkin, Leilani's boyfriend, was last seen with him at 6 am on the day he disappeared, but his mother didn't report him missing until after 9 am, according to authorities.
The investigation into Quinton's disappearance soon took a criminal turn shortly after Simon's mother allegedly told police that she did not trust her daughter.
Police visited the family's home was visited with search dogs, who thoroughly searched the interior as well as the backyard pool and neighboring pond. Also present was the FBI. The search for Quinton's remains continued for nearly a month as police worked "massively but painstakingly" through a local landfill.
Two weeks after Quinton went missing Simon and her mother Billie Jo Jowell were seen sobbing at Sting Ray's, a beach club in the nearby tourist destination of Tybee Island. WSAV managed to get a snapshot of Leilani inside the pub.
The two spent about three hours at the bar, drinking Patron shots while seated outside in a big group and pleading with their waiter to join them. The neighborhood police department tweeted a picture of their landfill hunt for Quinton after information about Simon's night out at the pub surfaced.
More information about Simon's arrest will soon be made public, according to Chatham police.