In less than two weeks what began as a missing persons report has turned into a horrific tragedy that has lead law enforcement to the conclusion that 20-month-old Quinton Simon was killed — and thrown into a dumpster.

On October 5, Leilani Simon called police around 10 a.m. to report her son missing. She said her toddler was last seen by her mom’s boyfriend around 6 a.m. Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley said law enforcement worked until 2 a.m. gathering information on the case, then returned early the next morning at 8 a.m. to continue with their investigation. This was a real effort. They searched through security footage, phone records, the home of his grandparents, and even called on outdoor search professionals and dive teams to help try and locate the toddler. Sadly, only 5 days later, the entire investigation would change.

October 10 rolled around and Hadley confirmed via public statement this was no longer a missing persons case — now the PD suspected foul play, and the FBI was in on the search as well. Forty agents were present during the investigation as they began to do another search inside his grandparents’ home. The Chatham County Police Department even obtained additional warrants for the property, including the pool behind the home. They had reason to believe this baby’s disappearance was an inside job.They haven’t revealed what the evidence was, but whatever they found was definitely pointing fingers in the family’s direction.

Only two days later, on October 12, did police officers and FBI agents reveal through Twitter the conclusion they’d come to amidst the searches — they believe Quinton is dead, and his mother Leilani is a prime suspect:

“We are saddened to report that CCPD and the FBI have notified Quinton Simon’s family that we believe he is deceased. We have named his mother, Leilani Simon, as the prime suspect in his disappearance and death. But, no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.”

Just awful. And it only gets more harrowing when CCPD said where they were searching for the boy’s remains: a landfill…

In a public conference posted to Facebook Watch on Tuesday, Chief Hadley once again chose to keep the specific new evidence private — but said it lead officers directly to search this specific landfill for Simon’s body:

“A short time ago, we began what will be an extensive search of the waste-management landfill located here in Chatham County. After every step we have taken this case, the need for this search was based on where the evidence led us.”

In a Q&A toward the end of the video, he also revealed how law enforcement believes the boy ended up in this huge disposal area — his body was thrown in a dumpster and accidentally sorted with the trash into the dump:

“ was placed in a specific dumpster at a specific location and it was brought by regular means of disposal.”

See the full press conference (below):

Gut-wrenching. He was just a baby…

Hadley mentioned on Tuesday how CCPD isn’t “ready” to file any charges or make an arrest yet because the investigation is still ongoing. He expressed his team’s desire to give the boy “justice” and a “final resting place” as well.

As to why Leilani is a suspect? We may not know what the police know, but we have more information thanks to some local eyewitnesses.  told The Sun that while dozens of law enforcement were searching through trash at a landfill for the corpse of her child, this woman has been doing shots at a nearby beachfront bar with her mother, Billy Jo Howell. A bar employee claimed:

“They were here. She was at a table, but they were drinking. We have someone who works here following the case and she noticed them. She said they were acting normal and having a good time and enjoying themselves.”

“Having a good time.” At a time like this. People react to stress differently, but come on. Another witness marked the same behavior, posting on Twitter:

“Spotted the mom and grandma of missing 20-month-old #QuintonSimon on #TybeeIsland at Stingrays restaurant about 7pm.”

Reporters and victim advocates who heard about the mother and daughter spending their days drinking and taking it easy apparently went to Tybee Island confront them — leading to “two verbal arguments” which the police got called about on Wednesday. Apparently Howell complained people were “harassing” her.

So disturbing. We obviously have no idea what happened yet — but we hope the authorities can give Quinton some kind of justice. May he rest in peace.

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