Quinton Simon, 20 months old, went missing from his home in Savannah, Georgia on October 5th. He is described by his grandparents as ‘a smart little boy who lights up the room.’ Chatham County Police immediately began extensive ground searches of the local area, including using K9s and drones, to look for the missing toddler.
The call to 911 emergency dispatch to report Quinton missing, occurred on Wednesday morning at 9:42 am. The call was placed by Quinton’s mother, Leilani.
The nearly 4-hour discrepancy between the time Quinton was last seen and the 911 call caught the attention of many, including law enforcement who have recently stated that new evidence may turn the investigation into a criminal investigation.
In addition to the timeline discrepancy, details also emerged that Quinton was expected to spend Wednesday with his regular babysitter and that she received a text at 5.29 on Wednesday morning from Leilani’s boyfriend Daniel Youngkin, saying that ‘she would not be needed.’
Chatham County Police and the FBI Evidence Response Team searched the family home, and recent media/press footage shows camera flashes and photography behind screened windows. Despite police saying that they hope Quinton can still be found alive, his disappearance hinted at being a criminal investigation early on. This was confirmed at a press conference on Monday when law enforcement stated “the disappearance of the toddler now includes the possibility it’s a criminal matter.”
Investigators returned to the home on Monday and reportedly drained the swimming pool. In breaking developments on Tuesday morning, Chatham County Police tweeted that they have “seized evidence that we believe will help move this case forward and we’re now working to analyze the evidence to see where it leads us”. It is unclear if this is connected to the search of the pool on Monday.
There has been a lot of speculation about Quinton’s domestic life despite police insisting that his disappearance is not considered to be a custodial issue. Nevertheless, various court documents reveal a confusing picture of the toddler’s familial life. Quinton’s maternal grandmother, Billie Jo Howell, is his custodial parent. Also of note are records showing that Billie Jo is in the process of evicting Leilani, Daniel, and the children from her home stating that “they have damaged my property and no one is living in peace.”
Quinton’s regular babysitter, Diana, has given interviews describing a dysfunctional home life. She alleges that she had seen bruises on Quinton more than once and sent photos to and spoke to Billie Jo Howell about her concerns and that although receptive to those concerns, Billie Jo told her that she believed Leilani deserved another chance because she had lost custody of children herself when she was a young mother.
Interestingly, just one week before Quinton’s disappearance Leilani was ordered to pay child support to Billie Jo Howell for Quinton and his older brother.
In addition to the tumultuous family quarrels, Quinton’s uncle has publicly stated that Leilani, Quinton’s mother, has a history of stealing from the family to buy drugs and substances, saying it’s a problem that “goes very far back.”
It’s a common theme unfortunately as related to missing children, a family living in the shadow of addiction as they simultaneously try to navigate being parents; an impossible feat that has the same echoes of failure and tragedy, similar to Harmony Montgomery and Elijah Lewis who have gotten their tragic closure, and countless others like Oakley Carlson who still don’t have the grace of such.
Anyone with information about Quinton Simon should call Chatham County Police Department at 912-667-3134.