The mother of a child reported 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.
During the search, officers combed through 1.2 million pounds of trash over a 30-day period, and police added that the FBI said landfill searches were only successful in 5% of the time.
Will Clarke, the supervising senior resident agent for the FBI offices in Savannah and Brunswick, said full confirmation of the remains could still take days.
“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 whether she had an attorney 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.
Hadley also thanked the many people in Chatham County and around the world who offered their support during the search for Quinton.
“We appreciate those who kept their faith in the system, who kept their faith in us and our investigative process, and for those who patiently waited for the evidence we needed to ensure Quinton has every chance. to receive the justice he deserves,” he said. said.