The Chatham County Police Department has arrested 22-year-old Leilani Simon and charged her with malice murder, concealing the death of another person, false reporting, and making false statements in connection with the disappearance and death of her 20-month-old son, Quinton Simon.
Simon was transported to the Chatham County Detention Center where she is awaiting a bond hearing.
On Friday, November 18, 2022, law enforcement searchers uncovered what they believed to be human remains at the Waste Management Landfill site. This afternoon, tests at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia provided preliminary confirmation that the remains are human remains. Further testing – including DNA evidence -- is being conducted to confirm that the remains are, in fact, human and whether the remains are Quinton’s.
Leilani Simon reported that Quinton was missing from their home on October 5, 2022. On October 12, the Chatham County Police Department announced that Quinton was believed to be deceased and his mother, Leilani, was the prime suspect. On October 18, 2022, the Chatham County Police Department and FBI announced that evidence led them to believe that Quinton’s remains were at the Waste Management Landfill in Chatham County, and a massive search began to try to locate them.
During the landfill search, law enforcement officers meticulously combed through 1.2 million pounds of trash over a thirty-day period. The working conditions were grueling and hazardous, and searchers knew that the chances of finding Quinton were low. Historically, the FBI says landfill searches are only successful 5 percent of the time.
“The FBI’s expertise was instrumental in solving this case and locating Quinton,” said Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley. “They are the undisputed experts in missing child cases, and they were with us at every turn in our investigation. Their expertise, manpower, and resources are unmatched and we are tremendously grateful for the FBI’s assistance.”
The landfill search was a massive operation and was made possible by the efforts of many law enforcement agencies in addition to the Chatham County Police Department and FBI. The GBI, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources all provided law enforcement officers who assisted in the search process. The Savannah Police Department, Savannah Fire Department, Chatham Emergency Services, Chatham Emergency Management Agency and Chatham County Occupational Safety all provided support services.
“We are indebted to the many law enforcement and public service agencies who assisted with this search, which was a crucial part of our investigation,” said Hadley.
Hadley went on to thank the civilian staff, sworn officers, and detectives who have worked tirelessly since Quinton was first reported missing.
“Every member of the Chatham County Police Department has been impacted by Quinton’s case,” he said. “I’m proud of how our department performed under the tremendous strain that comes any time a child is missing. Our Criminal Investigations Division deserves special recognition. Their devotion to Quinton and to making sure this crime did not go unsolved is an example of police work at its finest. Our detectives worked tirelessly, and were determined to follow every lead and uncover every piece of evidence in this case.”
Chief Hadley also thanked the many people in Chatham County and around the world who offered their support during the search for Quinton.
“I would like to thank the many people who showed their support for our department during this incredibly difficult and important investigation. We appreciate those who kept their faith in the system, who kept their faith in us and our investigative process, and for those who waited patiently for the evidence we needed to make sure Quinton has every opportunity to receive the justice he deserves.”