Criminal justice professor discusses intricacies of Quinton Simon case

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 2:28 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - It has been 15 days since a Chatham County toddler, Quinton Simon, was reported missing.

This week, the Chatham County Police Department and FBI announced that the focus of the search was switching to a landfill in the county.

FBI agents were at the landfill for day three of their search for Quinton Simon’s remains. FBI officials have said this will be an extensive search that could last for days on end.

As the search for the 20-month-old continues, police have not arrested their only suspect – Quinton’s mother, Leilani Simon.

Associate Criminal Justice Professor at Georgia Southern University, Chad Posick says in cases of a missing child this young, it’s typical for the child’s parents or someone close to the child to be responsible for their disappearance.

He says they can arrest Leilani Simon before they find Quinton’s remains but they may have a more solid case if they wait.

“I think they’re looking for remains from the body, some evidence that can really tie the perpetrator to the victim.”

As this search for Quinton gains national attention and people all over are grieving the loss of this baby boy, Posick says this case is raising many questions all over.

“The news of the disappearance spread really quickly and now the investigation is getting a lot of attention. So, this is the first major case of this sort of magnitude that we’ve seen in this era where news can spread so quickly and again, this impacts the investigation. It impacts what people know about the case and it raises a lot of questions,” Posick said.

Posick says police may not yet have the evidence that prosecutors will need.

“But certainly if they have enough to make an arrest to bring it to court means that they’ve either talked to a witness or they found something pretty key in the home or at one of the sites they had been previously searching.”

Police also haven’t gone into detail about what evidence they found that led them to believe Quinton was put into a dumpster and taken to this landfill or why Leilani Simon is responsible for Quinton’s death.

“In a case like this and the magnitude of the case, police are going to very careful not to do anything that would jeopardize if it went to trial or any plea bargaining. Especially when you have the disappearance and you may have a body somewhere, everything from who they interview, the way they do their investigation, to the search for any remains any little thing can upset that case if it’s done incorrectly,” said Posick.

He also says police may not want to put evidence they’ve gotten so far out there just in case they have to find another person of interest in this case.

Police say they have no updates today but an FBI official says they’ll release information about their search so far some time Friday.